(Frank Zocco; Lieutenants Jose and Raquel Hernandez; and Major Dave Champlin, cutting the ceremonial ribbon.)
MIDDLETOWN - A special "Kettle Kick Off – New Façade Dedication – Open House – and Meet the New Officers" combination event was held on Friday, November 14, at Salvation Army’s Middletown Headquarters on Main Street. The sounds of Christmas carols provided by a Salvation Army Brass Ensemble filled the air and signaled the official start of this local Red Kettle season.
Salvation Army Southern New England Divisional Secretary, Captain Sam Gonzalez, followed the terrific music and went to the podium to warmly welcome everyone. He provided a brief invocation and then turned the microphone over to Salvation Army Divisional Commander, Major Dave Champlin, who gave the crowd an informative history of The Salvation Army in Middletown and what the City means to the Army. Middletown Officers, Lieutenants Jose and Raquel Hernandez, were next. They had the official responsibility to handle the “ribbon cutting,” and they did a first-class job. Anytime the ribbon gets cut on the first try… it’s a first-class job!
The Salvation Army has a long history of helping veterans, and "donut girls" are an important part of that heritage. Ever since World War I, The Salvation Army, donuts, and donut girls have shared a common bond that has grown throughout the years to encompass many new programs that serve today’s veterans. Whenever new needs arise, The Salvation Army is there to meet them. To learn more about ways we help veterans in Connecticut and Rhode Island, click here.
Deputy Mayor Robert P. Santangelo joined the sidewalk festivities next and said the remolded building never looked better, and he would certainly know, because as a child – 65 years ago, he lived right across the street when the building was a supermarket! He thanked The Salvation Army for all that they do in the community, and he said that he was looking forward to working with the new officers. Advisory Board Chairman, Frank Zocco, spoke next and praised the Army for all they do to help people in need throughout the City. He said that he is honored to serve as a member (and as Chairman) of its Middletown Advisory Board. Lastly, Captain Janet Gonzalez made a few announcements and then delivered the closing benediction as the sounds of more Christmas carols filled the street.
As food is always an important part of The Salvation Army tradition, this event was no exception. The Emergency Disasters Services Canteen was parked between The Salvation Army and the Middletown Fire Department, with Director of Emergency Disaster Services, Rich Wildman, serving coffee and hot chocolate to the cold audience who came out to celebrate. Visitors and guests then gathered inside the building for tasty soup, salad, and dessert, plus a tour of the remolded facilities. Our neighbors from the Fire Department then stationed themselves on the nearby street corners and rang the bell to get the campaign off to great jumpstart!