Midland's Salvation Army has two new majors with big-city experience stepping in to lead its efforts to reach community members in need.
Daily News photos/CHANNING JOHNSON
Carmella McPherson jokes around with Adreanna Greene, 6, during the Salvation Army's "Ice Cream Crank" on Wednesday afternoon. McPherson and her husband, Patrick McPherson, are the new corps officers at the Midland Salvation Army. They arrived June 29 with their grandchildren from their previous post in Chicago, and they will be stationed here for the next several years.
On the job for only two weeks, Majors Carmella and Patrick McPherson already see a difference in their work in Midland from their last placement in Chicago, where Patrick served as the disaster services director for 15 years.
"I ran a team of about 400 different people throughout an 11-county area that responded to natural and manmade disasters," he said.
He was on call 24 hours a day and carried three pagers and a cell phone. Now, he's glad to be back in the Army's corps in Midland, where there is a slower pace.
"We're really looking forward to doing what we can here and being a part of the traditional operation of the Army," he said. "We're trying to see what our roles are here because it's different."
The majors say some things stand out in the local Army -- "tremendous" social services, "pretty extraordinary" resources for helping people and a "very supportive" staff.
This is the couple's ninth placement and even though they didn't get to choose Midland, they made it known that they liked serving previously in Michigan and in cities between 30,000 and 50,000 people, he said.
"We've been places about this size most of our career and there's a genuine aspect to folks, and I'm not being judgmental about other people, but there is a sense of comfort and peace," he said.
Carmella McPherson said in Chicago she worked in nursing homes and coordinated activities for senior citizens, including a Christmas party for 1,700 people.
"On top of that, I visited a VA hospital once a week," she said.
She said they are adjusting to their work, but still have to finish unpacking from their move. The McPhersons are raising two of their grandchildren full time -- Andrew, 13, and Breanna, 10.
Patrick McPherson said he enjoys amateur radio in his spare time, but transitioned that into starting and leading the Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network, which provides communication during emergencies. He will continue to serve as SATERN's national director on top of his duties of running the local Army operations.