New Salvation Army officers take helmPublished 5:39pm Saturday, July 6, 2013
Only in Suffolk for about two weeks, the new heads of the Salvation Army corps here have hit the ground running.
James and Susan Shiels, transfers from a Salvation Army service center in Warrenton, are replacing Calvin and Irene Clatterbuck, who have retired.
The couple has been involved in the Salvation Army from a young age.
He is a third-generation Salvationist. His parents were officers in the organization for 40 years, and his grandparents also were involved.
She also began volunteering for, and later working for, the organization at a young age. The couple met in Milwaukee when they were 14, and have been married for nearly 31 years.
“It’s been our church all along,” James Shiels said of the Salvation Army.
The couple took a hiatus from the work of the organization for a few years, but now are back. The Suffolk appointment is their second this go-round, after the one-year stint in Warrenton.
They said they already are enjoying getting to know the organization’s employees, volunteers, board of directors and people they serve.
“There’s more community involvement here,” he said. “That doesn’t happen everywhere. This is a real breath of fresh air.”
They are taking over at a time when construction of the new building is almost complete. The building will serve as a kind of community center, allowing space for classrooms, physical activity, computer use and more.
“We’re looking forward to a lot of great opportunities here with the building,” he said.
The family hopes to have an impact with their musical talents that tend toward contemporary worship. The couple has four sons, one of whom is deceased. Their oldest, 27-year-old James III, will be a student at Tidewater Community College in the fall. Christian John, 26, still lives in St. Louis, Mo., and 19-year-old William will join the Navy in February.
The Shielses are excited about their new appointment, they said.
“We’re excited because we’re here to stay,” Susan Shiels said. “The relationships we build are with neighbors, not donors.”
James Shiels said they look forward to taking advantage of the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts, getting involved in other community service organizations and going fishing.
“We have the advantages of a smaller community but also have the advantages of a larger community,” he said. “We want to be a part of the community.”
To contact the Salvation Army’s Bank Street headquarters, call 539-5201.