Guest column: 125 years of the Salvation Army in Freeborn County

Published 8:45 pm Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Guest column by Sandy Hunt

One hundred twenty-five years ago, in January 1896, Lt. Leander arrived in Albert Lea and began the work of the Salvation Army. One month later, she was joined by Capt. Ackerman, Lt. Johnson and Lt. Swenson. It started as a Norwegian Corps and joined the Salvation Army’s Scandinavian division in 1898. William Booth, co-founder of the Salvation Army with his wife Catherine, said, “Some of my best men are women!” These four women have proved him right. The work they started in 1896 still carries on today.

Sandy Hunt

In June 1908, the Corps closed and then in 1917 it reopened and has continued helping people uninterrupted since then. During these years over 140 Salvation Army officers have ministered to those in need in Albert Lea and Freeborn County.

Throughout these years, the Salvation Army community center has occupied various locations in Albert Lea until 1954 when ground was broken for a new building at 302 Court St. In 1969, an addition was finished, which doubled the size of the facilities, including a gym.

Our mission statement says, “The Salvation Army, an international movement, is an evangelical part of the universal Christian Church. Its message is based on the Bible. Its ministry is motivated by the love of God. Its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in his name without discrimination.”

In Freeborn County, we continue to provide assistance to those in need: food baskets and hot meals to families, utility assistance to help keep the lights and heat on, rent assistance to help families stay in their homes, activities for children to positively build their character, classes to help develop life skills, responding to disasters, and more depending on the need. We do these things to show God’s love. Also, throughout the week there are Bible studies, activities for men and women, and Sunday worship to which all are welcome to attend.

To celebrate this anniversary, we invite you to join us outside the Corps office on Court Street from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. Sunday for food and games.

Thank you, community of Freeborn County, for the wonderful support you have given us through the years, which has allowed us to help those in need and going through a tough time. We have been partners together the last 125 years, and I pray that we will continue for at least 125 more! God bless Freeborn County!

Maj. Sandy Hunt leads The Salvation Army in Albert Lea.