FACES: Answering the call
The commanders of The Salvation Army in Grand Forks give new meaning to the word retirement. "We retired the first of July in 2003," said Maj. Harold Baugh. "This is our seventh assignment since we retired." Since 2004, Baugh, 72, and his wife, A...
The commanders of The Salvation Army in Grand Forks give new meaning to the word retirement.
"We retired the first of July in 2003," said Maj. Harold Baugh. "This is our seventh assignment since we retired." Since 2004, Baugh, 72, and his wife, Aleene, 67, have been in
Bay City, Mich., Eua Claire, Wis., and the North Dakota cities of Fargo, Minot and Jamestown before arriving in Grand Forks last month. They are planning to stay in Grand Forks until June 30.
As pastors of The Salvation Army church, the Baughs lead Sunday services, a Thursday evening Bible study and youth group on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
The couple began serving in the church when they were teenagers themselves.
"We felt that call in our lives very early. By the time I was 17, I knew this is what I wanted to do," Harold said. He and Aleene met at The Salvation Army in Chicago when he was stationed there while serving in the U.S. Army in the late 1950s. They married in 1960 and have raised five children, who were all active in The Salvation Army church. One of their daughters and her husband are ordained Salvation Army ministers.
The Baughs were commissioned as officers in The Salvation Army in 1974 and have served across the Midwest since then. When they retired from active service in 2003, the couple agreed to accept assignments if they were needed.
"Serving is something I've done and something I've always wanted to do," Harold said. "It's sort of a tradition in our family to help people who are hurting or need something," he said. Besides serving as pastors of the church, part of his and Aleene's role as majors in The Salvation Army is to be administers of its agency, which includes social services and disaster teams.
"We were the directors of The Salvation Army in Fargo during the '97 flood," he said, noting the Fargo agency provided support to Grand Forks.
During the holiday season, The Salvation Army in Grand Forks holds a Thanksgiving week dinner, delivers food baskets, visits and gives gifts to residents of area nursing homes and collects money for its annual bell ringing campaign. The goal of this year's campaign, launched Nov. 19, is to raise $280,000 through kettle donations, mail requests and special fundraisers.
The Baughs have rung bells for hundreds, if not thousands, of hours over the years. Aleene rang her first Salvation Army bells in 1954, she said.
"I was 13 when I started ringing them on a windy corner in Chicago in front of Sears."
This year, The Salvation Army in Grand Forks will need bell ringers for a total of 4,000 hours at 14 locations across Grand Forks, Harold said. The Salvation Army uses volunteers and paid ringers to fill those hours. Simply placing kettles at locations isn't nearly as effective at getting people to donate as is having kettles with volunteers standing by, he said, noting that the difference can equal hundreds of dollars.
"We want to keep the bells ringing," he said. "I try to ring 20 hours a year." However, depending on the number of volunteers and paid ringers available, that number can grow to 200, Harold said.
Between the bell ringing, dinners and other charitable work during the holidays, the Baughs work 13 hour days, but it doesn't seem to faze them.
"My wife and I feel we're appointed by God to do this work and through him he gives us the energy," Harold said. "We're who we are and God has been able to use us through The Salvation Army."
Reach Bailey at (701) 787-6753; (800) 477-6572, ext. 753; or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org .