Second chances to retireConnie Maki is going to try retirement — again. When she retired from her post as the chief of criminal investigations for the IRS in Chicago, Maki told her friends she planned to go to Florida. Instead, she moved to Superior to minister to others through the Salvation Army.
By: Maria Lockwood, Superior Telegram
Connie Maki is going to try retirement — again. When she retired from her post as the chief of criminal investigations for the IRS in Chicago, Maki told her friends she planned to go to Florida. Instead, she moved to Superior to minister to others through the Salvation Army.
“This is not Florida by any means,” she said. “But it’s been a wonderful experience.”
For 13 years, she and Maj. Rosemary Matson have been serving Superior, a partnership those who attend the church call a “dynamic duo.”
“For me the Salvation Army has been nothing but fun,” said Matson, a former nurse. Although it’s always a challenge to find enough money to go around, the job has its rewards. “The biggest joy is loving people. I love people.”
During a retirement dinner Friday night, people from all walks of life got up to thank the two women.
“I came to this Corps about nine years ago at a real low point in my life,” said Lynn Andrews. “Praise God these women, the Major and Connie, took me in and treated me as one of their own.”
The dinner sparked tears, laughter and even a few jokes.
“Just like a church service,” said Tom Ledin of Superior.
At their first Sunday service in Superior 13 years ago, Matson and Maki had about 12 in attendance. Now, about 60-80 people share fellowship at the Salvation Army each Sunday at 11 a.m. Members attribute that to the chemistry between the two women — Mattson’s soft voice and endless love, paired with Maki’s strength and straightforwardness.
“Thank you for your kind words,” Maki said as the dinner wrapped up Friday. “But you know what, let’s talk about Jesus.”
A lot of their ministry includes listening to others and letting them know they care, Matson said.
“We’re watching people grow as people, just grow, and we’re having a lot of success,” she said.
Over the years, the church has continued to reach out to the community through programs like the food shelf, Christmas baskets and the Rookie Basketball Association. Kindness given is often remembered. Matson herself was a Sunbeam with the Salvation Army as a child. She remembered the clothes and care she was given during a difficult childhood, and it helped draw her back as an adult. She’s not the only one.
The year she was 10, Vicki Polich moved from Milwaukee to Hawthorne. Thanks to gifts and food from the Salvation Army, her family had a merry Christmas.
“I’ll never forget that Christmas,” Polich said. She and her husband Frank began attending the Salvation Army Superior Corps after he sat in on a service. Before he could slip away, Maki sat him down to hear his story. Although they now live in Bemidji, Minn., the couple still gets regular calls from Matson and Maki.
Since coming to Superior in 2000, Matson said she has seen cooperation and connection between organizations grow. Hunger, for example, is being tackled jointly by the community. Between Ruby’s Pantry distributions and a number of local food shelves, Matson said, people in need could receive food every week.
Matson had been slated to retire about three years ago, but the Salvation Army gave her the opportunity to stay on.
“They didn’t want to rock the boat,” she said. But now the major is ready to hand the paperwork and administration duties to a new duo, David and Bonnie Clark, on Wednesday. They won’t be far away, though.
“I’m retiring, not leaving,” Matson said. She and Maki have bought a house in Superior and are in the process of moving in. So what will this retirement be like? Maki said she’s looking forward to sleeping in.
“No more perms and no more having to wear the uniform,” she said.
But, Matson said, they will continue lend a hand wherever it’s needed.
“With all of us here to love the people, it’s going to be a beautiful place,” she said.