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Major Karen Garrett of the Salvation Army offers farewell to Tyrone community

As Major Karen Garrett of the Tyrone Area Salvation Army prepares to leave for her next assignment, she took some time earlier this week to share with The Daily Herald her memories of Tyrone, the town she grew to love over the past seven years.
She talked about the many friends she made while living in Tyrone, how she enjoyed being a member of the Tyrone Kiwanis Club and how she made frequent visits to Joybeans on Tenth Street.
Mostly, Major Garrett talked about how generous the people of Tyrone were to the Salvation Army.
“I want to thank the community for the very generous support over the last seven years,” she said. “I haven’t needed anything where someone hasn’t led me to it.”
Some of the projects Major Garrett remembers over the years includes working numerous hours at Bill Booth’s Kitchen and helping many individuals in the winter with the annual coat drive sponsored by Kiwanis.
She said she enjoyed meeting with the Salvation Army congregation, spending time with the women’s group and organizing the endless services the Salvation Army supplied to the people of the community.
“I enjoyed meeting with people in the community,” she added. “That was one of the fun things, I think.”
Major Garrett’s last day in Tyrone is scheduled to be June 28. The Tyrone Salvation Army Worship and Service Center is slated to shut its doors on June 30. She expressed sadness about the closing.
She said Tyrone will still have services, but there won’t be a physical building where the Salvation Army will be located. She said community volunteers will keep it going.
“The people will be taken care of,” said Major Garrett. “It’s just a matter of who will take care of it. Money raised here will stay in Tyrone.”
She will be traveling to Ridgway for her new assignment with the Salvation Army, where she was located many years ago.
“Ridgway had the same thing happen as Tyrone,” she explained. “It was coming along, but it closed two years after we left, due to finances.”
Now, the service center in Ridgway is open again, and Major Garrett is the first Salvation Army representative to be assigned to the position.
“There’s always the hope that if finances change, Tyrone can open again,” she added.
The Salvation Army’s Western Pennsylvania Divisional Commander, Lt. Colonel Joseph DeMichael said this in a press release, “While we are saddened to close our doors at this current location, we will continue our public service in an alternate venue.
“Because Tyrone has a smaller volunteer base and no advisory board, a service unit is a practical alternative,” explained Lt. Colonel DeMichael. “We want our donor dollars to be spent as wisely as possible. Raising funds within Tyrone has always been challenging.
“We would prefer to use those limited resources for direct assistance, rather than spend them on operations and staffing. We are now in the process of developing the community volunteer base for the local Service Unit.”
Members of the Tyrone church will be welcomed to worship at either the Huntingdon or Altoona Salvation Army Worship and Service Centers.
While the Salvation Army is saddened to shift the Tyrone operation, the organization is pleased to be able to offer uninterrupted service to the community.
“We are deeply grateful for the support that the people of Tyrone have shown to us,” said Lt. Colonel DeMichael. “The Salvation Army stands behind its promise to meet human needs in the name of Jesus Christ. It is our mission and it is exactly what we will do within these communities.”
The Salvation Army’s Western Pennsylvania Division covers 28 counties. It operates 48 Worship and Service Centers that offer a full complement of social and spiritual support programs.
These facilities are headed by Salvation Army officers who are ordained ministers. Church services are held at these sites. The Division also has nine Service Centers. These locations are managed by a paid employee, supplemented by volunteers and deliver human service assistance.
Service Units are strictly voluntary and can be located within a community church, police station or business. Currently, there are 125 Salvation Army Service Units within the Western PA Division. Similar to a Service Center, a Service Unit offers basic social services within a community. However, the location may change depending upon volunteer and building availability.
Both a church and a social service organization, the Salvation Army began in London, England in 1865. Today it provides critical services in 109 countries worldwide. The 28-county Western PA Division serves thousands of needy families annually through a wide variety of diverse support programs. This year, the Salvation Army is celebrating its 125th year in the United States. To learn more about the Salvation Army in Western PA, visit www.salvationarmy-wpa.org.