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A milestone year for the Salvation Army

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Lieutenants Brian and June Bobolo are looking forward to celebrating 100 years of the Salvation Army in Estevan this year. The ministry has a rich history of helping people in the community.

The Estevan Salvation Army has gone through many changes since it arrived in the Energy City in May of 1914.

There have been many different officers in the community. The Salvation Army has had different locations for their church and thrift store. The services and programs that they offer have changed.

But two constants have been their unwavering commitment to the people of Estevan, and the support from the community.

The local Salvation Army is going to celebrate 100 years in Estevan this year. The organization has already been promoting its centennial year at events during the past few months, and they're featured event will be in May.

Lieutenant Brian Bobolo said the Salvation Army was based out of the old stone building at the intersection of Third Street and 12th Avenue for much of its history. The church remained there until 2005, when the Salvation Army moved into its current home at Fourth Street and 11th Avenue.

The building houses their church, food bank and thrift store.

Bobolo said that the Salvation Army's social programs have gradually developed over the years.

"It's part of our theology, part of our way of laying out our faith, is to put feet to our faith, and to really serve our community well," Bobolo said. "It's the message that people who go to the Salvation Army Church hear every Sunday morning, and they have been hearing that throughout the 100 years."

The Salvation Army has always strived to share its faith with others, while showing compassion for the needy, Bobolo said. They want to take care of people's worldly and spiritual needs.

"It's all about soup, soap and salvation," said Bobolo. "That's one of our slogans. You give them soup, you give them a place to stay, you take care of their practical needs, and then when they are on a firm footing, when appropriate, you would certainly share the gospel message."

That's why the thrift store and the food bank are perfect for their ministry, he said. They meet practical needs, and uphold the dignity of the individual.

"We want people to go to work looking like they're well dressed, like they're not struggling, and like they're fitting right in," said Bobolo.

Bobolo believes that the community has been supportive of the Salvation Army for a century because they can see everything that the Salvation Army does in Estevan.

Salvation Army programs are also provided without prejudice, he said.

"No matter who you are, no matter how well you think you are doing right now, eventually life will pull the rug out from under you, and you can always come to the Salvation Army to get a little help for that point in your life," Bobolo said. "People have really respected that."

Almost everyone in the community has been impacted by the Salvation Army, he said. Some have needed assistance themselves. Others have had a family member or a close friend benefit.

"We provide excellent services to the people they care about, so they know that they can trust the Salvation Army to help their families and friends in need," said Bobolo.

Since arriving in Estevan in July of 2012, Bobolo said that he and his wife June have learned a lot about the Salvation Army's history in Estevan from people in the community.

The biggest event for the centennial celebration will come during the weekend of May 2 and 3. There will be services on May 2 and 3, and a supper on the 2nd, likely at St. Paul's United Church.

"We'll be inviting all of our friends to come and spend the day and the weekend with us, and to come for the services and the meals," said Bobolo. "The meals will be open to the public and to all our supporters, and it'll be a great time to … come together and celebrate a partnership that has lasted 100 years."

Captains Kirk and Linda Green, who were the local officers from 2000 to 2005, will be returning to Estevan as guest speakers for the event. Bobolo said a lot of local people fondly remember the Greens, who now lead the Salvation Army in Cranbrook, B.C.

He's also hopeful that the Salvation Army's brass band from Regina will be able to come to Estevan for the festivities. 

Bobolo said there might be other events this year to mark the enduring partnership between the Salvation Army and the community, but nothing else has been confirmed.


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