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We would like to extend a warm welcome to Capts. Sarah and Justin Windell, our new local Salvation Army officers.

The pair arrived in Jefferson City roughly a month after an EF-3 tornado caused widespread damage to Jefferson City homes and businesses.

This will be their fourth assignment and the first outside Indiana. The couple, who have three children, last served in La Porte, Indiana (in the northwest part of that state).

During that assignment, Sarah Windell immersed herself in community collaboration projects, specifically ones involving food collection/distribution.

She built a weekend backpack food program in La Porte from 150 students to more than 350, she said. The program serves children who receive free breakfast and lunch, giving them meals to get through the weekends.

“We did a lot with food. Anything that had to do with food came through me — the backpack program, the food bank, the churches,” she said in Sunday’s story.

That experience and focus on food should serve her well here. Our local Salvation Army Center of Hope at 927 Jefferson St. serves as a shelter, kitchen and pantry, among other things. In 2017, the staff served 26,000 meals.

One challenge the couple will face is to seek funding for needed repairs at the 20-year-old center.

Don’t look for too much immediate change, though. As is traditional of Salvation Army officers entering a new assignment, they’ll do more integrating into the community and learning during the first year than focusing on change.

The Windells replaced Lts. Rachel and Christopher White, who, as Justin Windell noted, “Really did a great job interacting with the community and showed how the Army can serve and work in this community. It’s great to follow people who were very passionate.”

We believe the Windells will be a blessing to our community, just as the Whites were. We welcome them and wish them well.

News Tribune

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