The Salvation Army of Iredell County welcomed new leadership August 14 with a community open house for Majors Joseph and JoAnn Muré.
The husband and wife duo of 39 years has been with the Salvation Army for 23 years.
Their involvement started with a desire to help others.
“My husband and I, we were attending another church many years ago and we just felt like we weren’t doing anything for anyone else - we were just attending church. We were being filled, we were being taught, but there was a lot of other people that needed help that needed attention outside the church and we just really felt … compelled to help somehow,” JoAnn said. “… and we ended up at the Salvation Army one day knowing that they helped people. We asked what we could do to help and we were invited to a church service that was going on. I had no idea the Salvation Army was a church and we started attending the church and finding out what they do on a daily basis… and the Lord just led us to become full time… his helpers.”
Since starting with the Salvation Army, the Murés have been all over the South helping in different communities.
“We get moved around, kind of like the military, and we are placed wherever we are needed, with either our skill set, experience or what the needs are for the area,” JoAnn said.
They arrived in Iredell County around June 20 and have already been working to make the connections needed to see the Salvation Army excel in the area.
“They have only been here a month… a little over a month, and they have already been very involved and visible in the community and really helping Iredell County and I see their leadership, their skills what they bring here… I think it is really going to help the Salvation Army in Iredell County for sure,” said Terrill Sandiford, associate planned giving director of the North and South Carolina division of the Salvation Army.
Their leadership style and overall personality has already started to boost morale in the area.
“They seem to be very, very good people, I was here when they came on board… in fact I considered leaving the board because maybe, for me, this wasn’t what I needed to do…,” said Leon Ijames, Salvation Army of Iredell County advisory board member. “Then, as they come on board with the enthusiasm that they have with a little different look at things, sometimes difference brings about change and I like that… and so that triggered my interest in staying on board.”
The Mures are ordained ministers originally from Buffalo, New York, who say they have come to Iredell County with open minds as to what will help the community.
“We are trying to meet the needs of the community in Jesus name… whatever is needed we try to do it with compassion and love and help,” JoAnn said.
“I think that once we… as the officer are leading this operation for Iredell County... realize what the true needs are across Iredell, I have no doubt that they will address how we need to serve the community that is out there waiting for us,” said Karen Shore, divisional resource development director.
The Salvation Army of Iredell County hosts have church services on Sunday morning, Bible study on Tuesday night and will have youth programs available in the fall.
With regular events and community engagement, the Murés plan to bring more awareness to the organization.
The Salvation Army is known for being seen with a bell in their hands around holidays but many do not know they are first and foremost a church as well as a place many can go for help with utility bills, to be feed and more, Sandiford stated
“Obviously need knows no season; there are people who are always in need and we appreciate the community’s support and just look to help as many people as we can and we can’t do it without community support and we appreciate all of that,” Sandiford said.
The Salvation Army of Iredell County has been around since 1927 and has seen hard times due to financial struggles, said Shacoby Brandon, a social worker for the organization, but with new leadership she hopes that will be a thing of the past.
“I can remember when you mentioned Salvation Army, that was a big name in this community, and for some reason that changed in the last four or five years and I don’t know why. I see a group of new people here (that) give us the chance to bring that type of thing back and hopefully that what will happen - and I think it will. I think they are approaching it in the right manner,” Ijames said.
The open house was just the first step the Murés have planned in an effort to get to know members of the community better.
“We are happy to be here… we are looking forward to a great Christmas. We are trying to partner with as many organizations as we can,” Joe said. “We would like to include everybody and get them out there meeting their neighbors at Christmastime with a bell in their hand. To get (the) community energized and to put a bell in their hands…we can raise that money, we can send kids to camp, we can do a lot of good things for a lot of people.”