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Salvation Army Showcases Mobile Canteen as Part of Anniversary Celebration

May 13, 2007 — Charlotte Amalie was an army town Saturday morning — a Salvation Army town, as joyous instruments sounded out over the town.
In celebration of its 90th anniversary on St. Thomas, the Pendel Brass Band and Singers performed at Emancipation Garden before members of the Salvation Army from as far away as New York, Pennsylvania and Florida, and as near as Puerto Rico and St. Croix. The band filled the air with the sound of cornets, drums, trumpets and even a pair of maracas, a nod to island culture.
Officiating was Capt. Ricardo Fernandez, divisional commander for Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, along with V.I. hosts Majors Federico and Doris Craig. Everybody got into the spirit. As a crowded safari bus lumbered by the garden, one of the passengers jingled a tambourine. Resident marched behind the band, led by army officers carrying the Virgin Islands, United States and Salvation Army flags.
For a bit of the morning however, anxiety plagued army officers and members of the SA board. As of 10:20 a.m., while the band played, board president Tom Bolt was on the phone trying to determine that the army's new mobile canteen was, indeed, off the boat and on dry land heading toward town.
Bolt, Craig, and fellow board member Maria Ferreras strained to look for a sign of the outreach emergency mobile canteen, which would be the highlight of the morning's celebration. The van will serve outlying communities with food, water, and assistance to the homeless. It will also provide immediate assistance in the wake of a natural disaster.
Finally the van, decorated with SA shields, rolled up the street to park by the garden. Bolt jumped on stage to "thank the good Lord" for its arrival in the wake of permits, insurance, motor-vehicle inspection, customs and getting it off the boat.
Ferreras was equally thrilled. "You have no idea of the work that's gone into this celebration," she said. "And to have this problem at the very last minute …." The board has been meeting at 7:30 a.m. every Thursday since January, organizing the event, "and just about every day last week," Ferreras said. She gave a big smile as she continued, "But it's been worth the work. I'm so grateful."
Meanwhile, Lt. Col. Bill Carlson, divisional commander of the Eastern Pennsylvania and Delaware units, watched the band with great affection.
"I used to play cornet in the band years ago," he said. The 44-piece band got its instruments to St. Thomas without a hitch, Carlson said: "They travel all over the world; they have it down to a science. They just got back from Argentina."
Carlson looked a bit nostalgic — not for his cornet playing, but remembering a significant visit to the islands 36 years ago. "Marcella and I honeymooned on St. John," he said. "So it's a special place."
The community assisted in the event in more than one way. Though the band carries its own instruments, it needed a tympani, a large copper-plated drum. Local music teacher Calvin Jones, who runs an instrument-rental company, let committee member Chris Robinson have it without charge or deposit. "When he heard it was for the army band, he was happy to donate it," Robinson said.
Mingling with others in the garden were Commissioners Lawrence Moretz, Eastern territorial commander, and his wife, Nancy Moretz, Eastern Territorial president. Lawrence Moretz talked about the Salvation Army's role in the Virginia Tech tragedy, where the corps provided hot cocoa, sandwiches and counsel. "You try to give a word of comfort," he said. "It's nothing you say. It's the presence that means something — just being there, trying to bring hope."
When the parade got going, the Moretzes headed for the front line, carrying the SA flag. The band followed the flag bearers in an orderly procession, followed by board and community members. Bringing up the rear was the mobile van, followed by a police escort.
As the parade moved down Main Street, shop activity halted as merchants and shoppers lined the street to yell out greetings. The band sounded a spirited version of "Onward Christian Soldiers," with many of the onlookers joining in song. In the wake of Carnival, one onlooker quipped, "This is probably the only sober march Main Street has ever seen."
First lady Cecile deJongh presided over the formal ribbon-cutting for the van, now conspicuously placed across from the SA church.
"It's very hot today," said deJongh, "and I'm going to be very brief. This canteen to assist the homeless is a great thing. It is a charitable thing to do. The Salvation Army, 90 years later, is a presence in the community. They have provided salvation for many in the community. We thank you."
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May 13, 2007 -- Charlotte Amalie was an army town Saturday morning -- a Salvation Army town, as joyous instruments sounded out over the town.
In celebration of its 90th anniversary on St. Thomas, the Pendel Brass Band and Singers performed at Emancipation Garden before members of the Salvation Army from as far away as New York, Pennsylvania and Florida, and as near as Puerto Rico and St. Croix. The band filled the air with the sound of cornets, drums, trumpets and even a pair of maracas, a nod to island culture.
Officiating was Capt. Ricardo Fernandez, divisional commander for Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, along with V.I. hosts Majors Federico and Doris Craig. Everybody got into the spirit. As a crowded safari bus lumbered by the garden, one of the passengers jingled a tambourine. Resident marched behind the band, led by army officers carrying the Virgin Islands, United States and Salvation Army flags.
For a bit of the morning however, anxiety plagued army officers and members of the SA board. As of 10:20 a.m., while the band played, board president Tom Bolt was on the phone trying to determine that the army's new mobile canteen was, indeed, off the boat and on dry land heading toward town.
Bolt, Craig, and fellow board member Maria Ferreras strained to look for a sign of the outreach emergency mobile canteen, which would be the highlight of the morning's celebration. The van will serve outlying communities with food, water, and assistance to the homeless. It will also provide immediate assistance in the wake of a natural disaster.
Finally the van, decorated with SA shields, rolled up the street to park by the garden. Bolt jumped on stage to "thank the good Lord" for its arrival in the wake of permits, insurance, motor-vehicle inspection, customs and getting it off the boat.
Ferreras was equally thrilled. "You have no idea of the work that's gone into this celebration," she said. "And to have this problem at the very last minute ...." The board has been meeting at 7:30 a.m. every Thursday since January, organizing the event, "and just about every day last week," Ferreras said. She gave a big smile as she continued, "But it's been worth the work. I'm so grateful."
Meanwhile, Lt. Col. Bill Carlson, divisional commander of the Eastern Pennsylvania and Delaware units, watched the band with great affection.
"I used to play cornet in the band years ago," he said. The 44-piece band got its instruments to St. Thomas without a hitch, Carlson said: "They travel all over the world; they have it down to a science. They just got back from Argentina."
Carlson looked a bit nostalgic -- not for his cornet playing, but remembering a significant visit to the islands 36 years ago. "Marcella and I honeymooned on St. John," he said. "So it's a special place."
The community assisted in the event in more than one way. Though the band carries its own instruments, it needed a tympani, a large copper-plated drum. Local music teacher Calvin Jones, who runs an instrument-rental company, let committee member Chris Robinson have it without charge or deposit. "When he heard it was for the army band, he was happy to donate it," Robinson said.
Mingling with others in the garden were Commissioners Lawrence Moretz, Eastern territorial commander, and his wife, Nancy Moretz, Eastern Territorial president. Lawrence Moretz talked about the Salvation Army's role in the Virginia Tech tragedy, where the corps provided hot cocoa, sandwiches and counsel. "You try to give a word of comfort," he said. "It's nothing you say. It's the presence that means something -- just being there, trying to bring hope."
When the parade got going, the Moretzes headed for the front line, carrying the SA flag. The band followed the flag bearers in an orderly procession, followed by board and community members. Bringing up the rear was the mobile van, followed by a police escort.
As the parade moved down Main Street, shop activity halted as merchants and shoppers lined the street to yell out greetings. The band sounded a spirited version of "Onward Christian Soldiers," with many of the onlookers joining in song. In the wake of Carnival, one onlooker quipped, "This is probably the only sober march Main Street has ever seen."
First lady Cecile deJongh presided over the formal ribbon-cutting for the van, now conspicuously placed across from the SA church.
"It's very hot today," said deJongh, "and I'm going to be very brief. This canteen to assist the homeless is a great thing. It is a charitable thing to do. The Salvation Army, 90 years later, is a presence in the community. They have provided salvation for many in the community. We thank you."
Back Talk Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.