Letter: Veteran begins 41 years of volunteering
I am Jerry Hartson, a retired disabled veteran from Superior. When I began my career with the Salvation Army, I rang bells, helped run the food shelf, picked up money from kettles, picked up food from Second Harvest and did anything that had to be done. I was also the van bus driver for a number of years for afterschool programs and church gatherings.
When I came back from serving in the U.S. Navy, I couldn't get food stamps because of guidelines. They said "You get a pension." I told them I have to go through medical boards as they don't just give them out unless you're hurt bad enough to receive it.
The Salvation Army of Superior gave me a bag of food and a blanket. That was 41 years ago and I never looked back. They are worthy of my time as they help in so many ways: food pantry, pet pantry, personal hygiene items if we have them, Toys for Tots, Christmas food baskets. The Salvation Army also provides rookie basketball for young kids to learn communication skills and how to work together.
If we can't help you, we will point you to other resources in the community, but we will get you started and be a resource that helps stabilize you.
I have met so many folks and veterans in my time. It's worth it all. Being disabled, some people say I'm an inspiration to many. As I say, a lot of male and female vets are. Some never came back. I was one who did and chose the Salvation Army to serve the Lord through them. It means a lot to be part of "Feed my Sheep," as we all know suffering and stress in some form or another.
The Salvation Army saved my life, and I give back to my city what I consider is life with a purpose to ease suffering the best I can. This is what volunteering means to me. I'll try to stay active as much as possible before I call it.
I'm the son of the late Morley "Muggs" Hartson and my mom Florence Ester Cooke Hartson Bachund of Superior.
Jerry E. Hartson