Local Salvation Army Post names new commander

Published 2:03 pm Tuesday, July 2, 2024

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Retirement has been put on hold for a second time for Sergeants Les and Mary Ashby as he has taken over as the new commander of the Salvation Post in Washington. A little over a year ago the Ashbys had settled in for retirement after having served a combined 80-plus years in the Salvation Army. “They called me back last March and asked if I would serve in Asheboro, North Carolina for about three months, which we did,” said Les. “We were set to retire once again in June of last year and received yet another call indicating they were short of officers and asked if I could come serve in Washington. I was willing and ready as I love the Army, the work, and what it means. I’m very excited to be continuing the journey in Washington.”

Ashby is a third-generation Salvationist and has an extensive background working with the homeless. He assisted his father who ran a 138-apartment transient lodge, or shelter as they are known today, for the homeless. As a member of the Salvation Army, he served as a maintenance supervisor for 168 apartments. He went on to work for 20 years at the Adult Rehabilitation Center (ARC) in Orlando Florida, where he met his wife Mary. For the last 13 years, they have served as corps administrators all along the east coast from Florida to Washington, DC. Ashby says they are eager to start the next chapter in their lives. “We will continue the wonderful work started by the former commander, Major Vic Tidman,” said Ashby. “He was a great man for raising money. It is our job to bring about continuous awareness about what we do daily, not only here in Washington but in the other counties that we serve. We help people who come through our doors daily for assistance with their utilities, rent, and groceries. It takes money to do that, and we can’t do what we do without the help of our community. It’s all about telling our story.”

Ashby said they were in charge of production and making money while working at the Adult Rehab Center and that they bring those gifts to Washington to strengthen what is already here. He said they will explore ways to organize the family stores and see how they could generate even more money. And of course, they are already looking ahead towards Christmas and increasing donations. “That is the time of the year when people see us out in the community the most,” said Ashby. “It is our biggest fundraising period of the year and we want it to be big. That money helps to fund our efforts throughout the year. Need has no season and that is what we are here for. We put our hearts to God, serve other people, and carry on his work. We are marching on.”