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Mary Hepburn is in her 24th year of writing a column for the North Platte Telegraph.

When I first heard the name “Poff” mentioned as the new leader at the Salvation Army in North Platte, it was like déjà vu.

Since I have been in North Platte for the last 24 years, the name sounded familiar to me. When I got the chance to talk to Maj. Harold Poff, that was one of my first questions I wanted him to answer. And he did.

What follows is my interview with him this week.

Mary: Are you the first members of your family to serve at the Salvation Army in North Platte?

Poff: No. Going back to the early ’70s, my sister and her husband served in North Platte. Since then, my brother and his wife, and my nephew and his wife have all served this community through the Salvation Army. I have large shoes to fill, indeed!

Mary: Were you surprised to get the call to move to North Platte?

Poff: Yes. We knew we were going to move, but we did not expect to come to North Platte.

Mary: Where did you move here from, and how much time did you have to prepare?

Poff: My wife, Maj. Lynneta Poff, and I moved here from Waterloo, Iowa, where we served for four years. We had about six weeks’ notice to pack and prepare to move to North Platte. Lynneta is my partner in ministry. We have been married for 37 years.

Mary: How did you see God at work in this move?

Poff: We see that God has brought us here at this time to lead and minister at the Salvation Army for the challenges of today.

Mary: What is the biggest challenge you see, with the upcoming school year almost upon us?

Poff: We want to quickly fine-tune the last-minute details to serve the greatest number of children possible at the least possible expense.

Mary: What do you want to accomplish here?

Poff: Since my wife and I have 25 years of experience as Salvation Army officers, we know the importance of building on the foundations laid by many who have gone before us.

We want to make the Salvation Army stronger, with God’s help. Not just in the programs that serve the community, but also by reaching out to those who are unchurched and alienated from God.

Only by bringing people to God can we truly and permanently impact our community in a positive way.

We can do this by increasing our outreach in places such as nursing homes and in areas of the community that are not being reached by other churches.

***

I have personally experienced the generosity and care the Salvation Army has for this community.

When I returned to North Platte, the Salvation Army was there at Thanksgiving and Christmas with baskets packed with goodies. It helped me get settled and made me feel welcome.

I have been a supporter ever since.

As well, I enjoy every third Thursday morning at 10:15 when Chloe and the rest of the crew from the Salvation Army come to sing and share devotions with the residents here at Linden Court.

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