'To help and to give hope'

Benjamin chase/plainsman Members of the Beadle County Republican Women pose with the Caring for America Award for clubs of 10 to 25 members that the club received at the recent National Federation of Republican Women Convention in Oklahoma City. The award recognized the local club’s partnership with Sleep in Heavenly Peace to provide bedding for families in need. Beadle County Republican Women donated sheets and pillows and provided volunteer hours during building of beds.

HURON — Huron attorney Ron Volesky, a representative on the local Salvation Army advisory board, spoke to the Beadle County Republican Women Thursday at their luncheon at Ryan’s Hangar. Volesky spoke about the Salvation Army’s history and the impact that it has on the Huron community.

Volesky noted that the Salvation Army was founded in England in 1865. He noted the Huron Salvation Army provides more than 20,000 meals per year to community members at low or no cost, weekend sack lunches to more than 2,500 in the last year, and a food pantry for those in need. In 2022, according to Volesky, the Huron Salvation Army provided more than $200,000 in relief with food, lodging, and other assistance.

“The Salvation Army is the largest non-governmental social service agency in the United States,” Volesky noted. “We don’t ask anything of the government - except leave us alone.”

Volesky highlighted some of the activities that the Salvation Army is doing in the Huron community, including the youth after school and summer camp programs, as well as the music lessons that current lieutenants Justin and Shannon Bluer are providing to youth.

“I walked in there the other day, and I believe that there were around 20 youngsters learning to play an instrument,” Volesky remarked. “It’s a wonderful thing.”

The budget of the Salvation Army is brought in through the thrift shop, endowments of generous donors, and the Christmas basket and bell-ringing programs in the city. According to Volesky, roughly 40% of the Salvation Army’s budget comes from sales at the thrift store, 15% comes from giving to the Christmas basket program and bell-ringing, and the remainder comes from private donations and endowments.

Huron’s Salvation Army began in 1897 after arriving in the United States first in 1880. The organization has a long-standing reputation as an organization that aids those who need it. The driver of providing that aid is volunteers.

“We average over 150 volunteers per year that come in to help in some way,” Volesky explained. “We are always in need of those who are willing to help.”

“It is people just like you who are willing to give their time and stretch their resources in order to donate to an organization like the Salvation Army that provide members of our community hope,” Volesky continued. “And that’s what the Salvation Army’s goal is - to help and to give hope.”

During the business meeting portion of the luncheon, representatives from the Beadle County Republican Women that attended the national convention Sept. 28 - Oct. 1 in Oklahoma City gave a report from that convention on the activities that took place. At that meeting, the area club was recognized for work done with the Sleep in Heavenly Peace organization, donating sheets and pillows as well as multiple members of the club working at bed builds.

The next meeting of the Beadle County Republican Women will be Nov. 16, with Jon Hansen of the Life Defense Fund as guest speaker.