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Salvation Army leaders reassigned to Colorado

Captains Amber and Joe West will conclude their years in Roswell this Sunday before beginning their next mission. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

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New captains set to arrive in Roswell next week

Some familiar faces in the Roswell community will leave soon for a new assignment.

Captains Amber and Joe West, co-corps commanders of the local Salvation Army, have been given what the organization calls “marching orders” to report to a new assignment by June 26.

“We have been appointed to a new mission station in Grand Junction, Colorado,” said Joe West.

The area is part of the Intermountain Division of the Salvation Army, while Roswell is part of the Southwest Division.

“We farewell from Roswell June 23,” added Amber West.

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They plan on a 10 a.m. fellowship brunch on Sunday followed by their usual church service, which is open to the public. They will head north right after.

They have been in Roswell for 4 1/2 years with their four young children, Elliot, Hank, Faye and Theodore, or Teddy. They came from Phoenix, Arizona — except for Teddy, who was born in New Mexico. The Wests are on their third move as corps officers, with no idea how long they will stay in Colorado, although Amber said most assignments last three to five years.

“We are all used to it,” she said. “The kids are used to it. They keep asking, how many more days?”

While the kids are excited about a new move, the Wests, who recently became captains after their fifth year of service, also express appreciation for their time here.

“We are very thankful for the support of our community because all of these things we have done, most of them we have only been able to do because we had support behind us,” Amber said.

“The kids have had great teachers, great friends,” they said.

“You never know where you are going to go,” Joe said. “And, of course, we never thought Roswell. And when they told us Roswell, we said, okay, we don’t know anything about that. But we have really, really enjoyed it. We are glad that we have been able to make this stop.”

The Wests can look back on their time here having achieved some milestones for the local corps.

They spearheaded the building of the Harvest House, a sober transitional home for Chaves County men who have completed drug addiction treatment programs, and they oversaw needed renovations of the Salvation Army administrative offices on West College Boulevard.

They and their 15 employees also have provided various social programs such as bill payment assistance, overnight emergency shelter arrangements, employment assistance, and holiday meal and gift donations. The local operation also runs a food bank and the Roswell thrift store on East Chisum Street, which Joe said is performing better than ever. Although the Roswell corps is not often called for disaster assistance, Joe did recently serve a week in Yuma, Arizona to provide migrant assistance.

“We have tried to help the Army in Roswell to become really efficient,” he said. “They always say, leave it better than when you came. As officers, we are always trying to do that.”

He added that building relationships was also a major goal of their work.

Local advisory board member Arnold Harst, who has served for about six months, said he appreciated their achievements.

“They did a great program with outreach, setting up a recovery house … and positive reinforcement for the youth in the area,” he said. “I would have liked to have worked with them longer, but most commanders are in the area for three to five years. We kind of knew it was coming, but we wished it would have been for another year. We wish them well.”

The Wests’ new assignment means increased responsibilities, they said. In Colorado, they will head about 43 employees and three thrift stores as well as social services and youth programs. The organization also can use people with experience in building and fundraising projects, Joe said, recently having a rehabilitation program site that burned down and a thrift store that sustained damage from a vehicle accident.

Their replacements, Captains Jonathan and Niki Woollin, who have been in Bellingham, Washington since July 2016, will begin their service here June 26. Their welcome Sunday will be June 30.

“We are just very excited to come,” said Niki Woollin. “Our pod is already on its way with our stuff. We know and love the Wests, and we are just excited to follow some great people and to see what we can do to best serve the Roswell community.”

Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 311, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.