On Thursday, May 11, the Muscatine Salvation Army held their 2017 Annual Civic Dinner. This event is one of the largest celebrations of community volunteers held by the Muscatine Salvation Army. The Salvation Army of Muscatine holds this dinner every year to thank members, volunteers, and sponsors and to celebrate their successes in the previous year in their goal to help others.

The evening opened with a prayer led by Lt. Cristian Lopez, followed by dinner and social time. Guests included members of the Salvation Army Board, volunteers, corps members, and other Salvation Army supporters from the community. During dinner, Muscatine High School’s barbershop quartet, Solid Harmony, treated guests to a few songs.

After dinner, Lt. Brook Lopez and Esther Dean, Salvation Army of Muscatine Advisory Board Chairperson, presented special recognitions to Greg Jenkins, the 2016 Chairperson; Sandy Kuhens, the Corps Cook; Jim Hayes, the Christmas Red Kettle Chairman; and the entire Christmas Committee, whose members are responsible for the success of the Red Kettle campaign at Christmas time.

The keynote speaker was Max Allan Collins, who spoke about his journey to becoming a successful writer and how he got to where he is today. His speech explained that success is possible with hard work, dedication to a goal, and support from others. The Salvation Army of Muscatine consists of many members and branches, all of whom work together for the same cause: “To preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.”

Following Collins’ speech, Trisha Smith, Regional Development Director for The Salvation Army in Muscatine, announced what’s new for The Salvation Army this year. The Salvation Army in Muscatine is celebrating 125 years in Muscatine in 2017. Smith announced an anniversary celebration which will be held in August of this year.

Another exciting advancement is the introduction of “dip jars,” which are electronic devices that can be placed out at events for guests to make quick and easy donations to The Salvation Army. The device works by being preset for a certain donation amount and guests simply “dip” their debit or credit card into the slot to make a donation. Smith said they are excited about the plan for this year and they hope to continue helping the community for another 125 years.