Shining the Light of Compassion on a Dark and Stormy Night

June 02, 2013
Lindsay Sparks |

Shining the Light of Compassion on a Dark and Stormy Night

When a supercell thunderstorm started toward the Oklahoma City Metro Area on the evening of May 31 more than 70 Salvation Army officers, volunteers and staff deployed in the area immediately took shelter. Many sheltered in Bethany, Okla., while others were at various hotels across the metro.
One canteen crew, just in from a long day of serving tornado survivors, took shelter in stairwell at the Baymont Hotel near the I-40 and I-44 junction, an area that the one of the five tornadoes that touched down wreaked havoc with on its way through.

When they went outside following the all-clear, cars were overturned, and the hotel, filled with families displaced by the Moore storm and multiple NCAA softball teams, was without power. A large tractor trailer was turned over blocking one exit from the service road and the other way out was filled with downed trees, requiring careful navigation to pass. 

Powerful storms were still tracking south of the Metro and with no direct orders, they decided to do the most good possible. Allen Ricketson, a member of the Tulsa, Okla., canteen team had secured his mobile feeding unit at the hotel. He rushed it to the front of the building, threw open the service window, and began serving those in need. Joined by multiple members of the Emotional and Spiritual Care team—Salvation Army officers (ordained ministers) Major Ron Mott, Captain Kelly Durant, Major Connie Long, Major Susie McClure and Lieutenant Ben Duel—that Salvation Army canteen provided coffee, water, snacks—and perhaps more importantly as sense of comfort and care--to all of those who were stranded.

"Everyone was very thankful,” said Major Mott late that Friday night, “and we were blessed with the joy we could bring to others.”

About The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army, established in London in 1865, has been supporting those in need without discrimination for more than 135 years in the U.S. More than 25 million Americans receive assistance from The Salvation Army each year through a range of social services: food for the hungry, relief for disaster victims, assistance for the disabled, outreach to the elderly and ill, clothing and shelter to the homeless, and opportunities for underprivileged children. The Salvation Army tracks the level of need across the country with the Human Needs Index ( The Salvation Army has served survivors of every major national disaster since 1900. The Salvation Army does not place an administrative fee on disaster donations. During emergency disasters, 100 percent of designated gifts are used to support specific relief efforts. For more information, go to or follow on Twitter @SalvationArmyUS.

Our Mission

The Salvation Army, an international movement, is an evangelical part of the universal Christian Church. Its message is based on the Bible. Its ministry is motivated by the love of God. Its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.
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