Making a Difference
Hartleys settle into Salvation Army role in Madison, Ind.
The couple’s family has generational ties with
(March 2020) – If they aren’t busy helping volunteers serve food or sorting through donations, Salvation Army Lieutenants Justin and Stephanie Hartley are daily doing the myriad of other tasks needed to keep open Madison, Ind.’s Salvation Army, located at 331 E. Main St. Justin, 33, and Stephanie, 31, are the new couple in charge of operations.
The dynamic duo, previously assigned to the Salvation Army in Clinton, Iowa, arrived in town at the end of June 2019, and they brought with them three young sons, ages 7, 4 and 2. “Each Salvation Army is unique, so we’ve been working to figure out this particular one,” Stephanie said.
The couple plans to not only grow existing programs but to also develop others that benefit the community. “We want to make sure what is already here is stable, and then build out from there,” said Justin.
Stephanie said the family is adjusting well to living in Madison. “This is such a unique town,” she said. “It’s a small town, but walking downtown has a neat city vibe. You don’t get that in most small towns.”
Both Justin and Stephanie have a long family history connected to the Salvation Army. Justin, who was originally from St. Louis, is a fourth generation Salvation Army worker. Stephanie, originally from the Chicago area, is a sixth generation Salvation Army worker.
“We met at a Salvation Army band camp in 2004,” she said. The couple have worked together as a team of pastors and administrators ever since. They share in the daily duties, and they take turns giving the sermons during church service.
In addition to the Salvation Army Thrift Shop, the daily meal service and the Christian ministry and church, the Hartleys have developed a program geared toward family fun, friendship and faith. Their new menu of selections includes dance lessons and musical instrument lessons. Stephanie, who holds a music degree and is a dance instructor and pianist, loves teaching the fine arts and dance program. “We also have a children’s choir and a character-building youth program that operates similarly to scouting,” she said. The programs at the Salvation Army offer families opportunities to explore fine arts and other interests at a minimal to no cost. Dinner and transportation are also available for the choir practice.
Photo by Konnie McCollum
Justin and Stephanie Hartley took over at the Madison, Ind., Salvation Army in June 2019.
Longtime Salvation Army Board of Directors member Bob Canida, recently retired from Canida Dentistry, has been working with the Hartleys since they arrived in Madison. “Anyone who commits to working for the Salvation Army has a special kind of dedication or spirituality,” he said. “You know what is in their hearts.” He was thrilled the couple has young children, too. “Having a family with children feels more complete, and I believe enhances the ministry.”
Canida was excited about the programming the lieutenants have spotlighted, including dance and musical instruments lessons. He said, “I recently saw the dancers perform, and the proud looks on their faces were wonderful.”
Canida emphasized the need for volunteers in the community to work alongside the Hartleys to continue to grow and build the programs at the Salvation Army. “They don’t have a large budget with which to operation, so they really need volunteers to support the program.”
In fact, the community recently felt the impact of a lack of volunteers when the winter warming station offered by the Salvation Army for those who need shelter faced a serious shortage of volunteers during this current cold weather season. “We were down to two volunteers to help out on the nights we need to open,” said Justin. “It takes at least six to eight volunteers for one night of operation.” The winter warming station is open when the temperature falls below 32 degrees by 5 p.m. Thanks to help from community groups and the city, there are now 20 trained helpers for those cold night emergencies. In addition to help manning the warming station, volunteers are needed to help serve the 4,000 meals a month dished up to community members in need and many other tasks.
Madison Mayor Bob Courtney praised the Hartley’s efforts during the conflict with the winter warming shelter. “Lieutenants Stephanie and Justin Hartley of the Salvation Army have adapted well to Madison. I have found them to be more than willing to meet and work with the city in regard to the needs for our community, but most specifically toward opening a shelter in below freezing temperatures,” he said.
“The city has partnered with the Salvation Army by raising funds to get emergency shelter sleeping kits and supplies. Being able to offer this shelter took special permission from Salvation Army Corporate. The lieutenants and the board were willing to request this special consideration on behalf of those that have nowhere to live. We believe this is a lifesaving effort and look forward to continuing to work together to see that these needs are met.”
“We always need financial assistance, volunteers, donations and Christmas help,” said Justin. “There is always something to do, and we welcome those who want to help.”
• For more information or to volunteer, call the Madison Salvation Army at (812) 265-2157.
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