Tuesday, May 9, 2023–5:30 p.m.
-David Crowder, WRGA News-
Since 2020, Captains Tim and Paula Blevins have been at the helm of the Rome Corps of the Salvation Army, but in just a few weeks, they are being transferred to Warner Robins.
Captain Paula Blevins told the Rome City Commission during a presentation Monday that they leave on Monday, Jun. 19.
“This is nothing something that we really decide is going to happen,” she said. “The Salvation Army decides that. When we signed up, we were willing to go wherever they sent us.”
Blevins said she and her husband hope to come back to Rome when they retire.
“Our hearts are here in Rome because this is where we grew up,” she added. “This is where we were married and where we have lived most of our lives. We appreciate all of you, and there will never be another city like Rome.”
The Blevins’ will be replaced by Majors Hank and Eunice Harwell, who are coming to Rome from Homosassa Florida.
The Rome Corps of the Salvation Army offers a number of services from disaster relief, a home store, and the annual Angel Tree program, which provides Christmas gifts to children in need. The annual red kettle campaign is their biggest and most visible fundraiser each year.
The Salvation Army also has a homeless shelter, which can serve up to 15 people on a temporary basis, usually around 90 days. According to Blevins, they try their best to emphasize getting a job and saving money. However, she said affordable housing just doesn’t exist right now.
“Many times it’s a challenge for them to find someone they can room with and share expenses,” Blevins told commissioners. “Even then, sometimes people don’t know who they can trust. So, it’s a real challenge.”
Next week is Salvation Army Week, which serves as an opportunity to celebrate the non-profit organization’s volunteers, donors, and program beneficiaries. A volunteer appreciation luncheon is scheduled for Monday, May 15 at the Rome Civic Center on Jackson Hill and proclamations have been presented during both the Rome City and Floyd County Commission meetings.
Captain Tim Blevins said the mission of the Salvation Army remains the same as it was when the organization was founded by William and Catherine Booth back in the 1800s. The Booths were street preachers on the east side of London who ministered to the poor and the marginalized.
“They had a strong passion to give these people the truth of Jesus Christ,” he said. “However, it didn’t take them long to realize that many times before a person would listen to a spiritual message, they needed a meal, a bath, or a place to sleep.”
The Salvation Army has ministries in 133 countries all across the world.