OTTUMWA — This week marks the 66th annual National Salvation Army week, something that is special to Envoy Joel Arthur.

“In 1954 President Eisenhower made this proclamation that this week be National Salvation Army week,” Arthur said. “He said, ‘We’re all neighbors and all belong to churches.’ It was a great reminder to take care of each other. Each year, this week serves as an opportunity to celebrate our volunteers, donors and program beneficiaries who have enabled us to serve in the United States for 140 years.”

As part of National Salvation Army week, Arthur and his wife Ramona will continue efforts to show their appreciation for essential workers. Last week they delivered lunches to medical personnel at Ottumwa Regional Health Center.

At 11 a.m. Thursday, the Arthurs plan to deliver cookies to the Ottumwa fire and police departments as well as the Wapello County Sheriff’s Department.

“The army stands at the front lines ready to serve,” Arthur said. “We will take these cookies and serve them. It’s our way of saying a general thank you as we continue our efforts to serve.”

Arthur also encourages the public to reach out to the Salvation Army if they require assistance.

“We’ve been in the community for 132 years and even during this time our office is still going to provide assistance,” Arthur said. “We are here for each person. We are here to provide care and assistance, whether it be a personal crisis or a disaster.

“The army is here, and we welcome everyone,” Arthur added. “The army loves being in this community and our hearts belong to God and the hands belong to man.”

At this time Arthur and Ramona are thinking of other ways they can spread positivity. For now they’re focused on letting the public become more aware of what the mission offers.

“We are here to replant the church,” Arthur said, “and our main focus is geared toward housing and serving the community. The Army is here as a beacon of hope. If they want to they can come inside the building and sit and pray and collect their thoughts.”

Chiara Romero can be reached at


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