A little over eight years ago, Judie Price was a resident of the Avante Nursing Home in Lake Worth, Florida. She was unable to walk and began suffering from serious bedsores, and had to undergo a great deal of physical and occupational therapy.
One Wednesday evening, she was asked if she’d like to join a group of Salvation Army soldiers and volunteers in one of the main rooms for a time of praise and worship. The group (Community Care) was led by Dan Hager, who routinely made sure that everyone who wanted to attend be able to gather for the service. Dan pushed Judie’s wheelchair down the hall to the meeting room.
“What I didn’t know was that The Salvation Army is a church,” Judie says. “This loyal group of soldiers showed up every other Wednesday night, some with musical instruments, to gather the residents for a time of fellowship.”
Over the following four years, Judie looked forward to the Salvationists’ ministry and became very attached to her new friends. Meanwhile, Judie grew stronger and moved from using a wheelchair to a walker.
With her improving condition the time came for her to be relocated; and this caused her no small amount of concern over not being able to see her Army friends any more.
“I shouldn’t have worried at all, because several Salvationists offered to pick me up at my new residence, Cresthaven East, and take me to The Salvation Army’s corps in Lake Worth,” she says.
Judie began attending the corps faithfully, and her Army family became a critical support in her life when she lost her husband of 35 years to cancer.
“Without my new church family as well as my sons, I could have spiraled into a deep depression,” she says. “I found that my corps was the place where I found solace.”
Judie was asked if she’d like to become a soldier, and after prayer and reflection, she knew she was ready to do it.
“I was enrolled in The Salvation Army on Easter Sunday 2015, and I am so joyful to be a soldier,” she says.
The corps officer asked Judie to undertake a telephone outreach program, and to help schedule volunteers for the nursery on Sundays.
“I enjoy calling people and checking on them.”
She even arranged for her Community Care comrades to begin regular visits to Cresthaven East, just as they were doing at Avante.
That was one year ago. And Judie is so proud to be a part of a ministry that once ministered to her.
“I know what The Salvation Army has done in my life and I am so thankful to be able to help others have that same opportunity!”
Major Frank Duracher, Assistant Editor