As a truck driver for The Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Center in his community, Richard Alvarez typically spends his days collecting donations of furniture, clothes, and household items from the homes and businesses of generous donors. But for the last several weeks, Alvarez has been delivering much-needed personal protective equipment (PPE) in his Salvation Army truck to hospitals and essential workers.

“I was proud to be asked to deliver PPE for of The Salvation Army,” said Alvarez. “It’s good to know what I’m doing is helping staff in hospitals and other locations who look after people and save lives.”

The Salvation Army is partnering with emergency management to provide transportation of essential PPE in cities throughout the state. Deliveries are made to strategic locations including hospitals and other essential services directly affected by the increased demands caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Alvarez has a deep appreciation for places taking care of people in their time of need. He is a graduate of The Salvation Army’s 180-day rehabilitation program and vividly recalls walking through the doors of the Adult Rehabilitation Center on Feb. 5, 2017. “I came in broken and in desperate need of help,” he said. “I didn’t know anything about The Salvation Army other than they rang bells at Christmastime and I saw them on Thanksgiving Day with the Dallas Cowboys. But walking in here on that first day, I knew it was the right place for me.”

The day after completing the rehabilitation program, Alvarez was hired as a full-time truck driver responsible for collecting donated items and stocking his local Salvation Army Family Stores. “My mom shopped at the stores when I was growing up,” he said. “It’s now come full circle. Instead of shopping in the stores, I’m now the one stocking them.”

Social distancing protocols and shelter-in-place orders resulted in the temporary closure of The Salvation Army Family Stores, putting significant financial strain on operations. As a result, most of the workforce was laid off. Alvarez is one of the few remaining drivers, working fewer hours and at a reduced rate.

“I might be making less money right now, but I can put gas in my car, pay my rent, and look after my kids. God will take care of me,” said Alvarez. “I really believe in the ministry of The Salvation Army and am thankful for all they have done for me. The PPE delivery is a great way for me to give back during this crisis. Each day I put my armor on and do my part.”

Salvation Army ARC Graduate Celebrates Sobriety by Providing Emergency Services

By: Philip Burn

Psychology Behind AddictionEdwyn Hector has worked for The Salvation Army for six years.

By Abagail Courtney –

In the U.S. Marine Corps, semper fidelis, or “always faithful,” signifies the dedication and loyalty that individual Marines have for each other and their country, even after leaving service. For Edwyn Hector, that couldn’t be more fitting.

Though he’s now retired from his six-year command as a Reconnaissance man, Hector’s still faithfully serving his fellow comrades. Only now, he’s doing it through his work at The Salvation Army’s shelter.

Shortly after leaving the Marine Corps, Hector found himself a spectator in a civilian world. What he saw were veterans, not unlike himself, wrestling with psychosis, addiction, homelessness and the unresolved traumas that stemmed from military life. Between his military experience and background in psychology, he knew he could make a lasting impact for these men and women but wasn’t sure where to start.

One evening, not long after, he saw a commercial promoting The Salvation Army’s local shelter. It mentioned the facility’s work to help those facing addiction and homelessness. Hector showed up the next day to the shelter with a heart to help and a resume in hand.

Fast-forward six years, Hector is now one of two facilitators in charge of education and training at the shelter and has helped more than 3,000 individuals work through recovery and gain control of their addictions. Much of that work focuses on training thoughts and mindsets through positive reframing and the ability to recognize, accept and manage feelings.

Conquering addiction—a disease that the Surgeon General says will affect one in seven Americans—can be accomplished by consistently practicing these four things, according to Hector: Recognizing your feelings, identifying what they are, processing them and getting back to glad.

“Your actions come from your feelings. We allow a lot of people and places and things to dictate our feelings; this means we allow people, places and things to dictate our lives,” he said.

With that in mind, Hector focuses on the six emotions with which all people are born: happiness, sadness, fear, anger, surprise, and disgust. Once understood, the goal pivots toward recognizing, identifying, processing and taking responsibility for those emotions in order to avoid a relapse when life gets difficult.

Hector often poses questions during group sessions to help get the proverbial wheels turning: How can somebody make you a certain way? Do your feelings not come from your own mind? Who operates your mind? So where do your feelings come from?

“When they say ‘from me,’ I say ‘there you go—now you aren’t putting it on people, places, things,” he said. “Now you are putting it on your own self and now, what we need to do is practice on changing our perception.’ We can work with that.”

While such exercises have proven immensely helpful to many clients, Hector says the most valuable thing anyone in the program can extract from group sessions is knowing their worth.

“There is not another person on the planet that will ever exist like you again,” he said. “Everything you have on that body of yours is unique, and guess what? Our creator gave that to you to work with—just you—no one else. That’s how priceless you are—that is your worth.”

Many of the men Hector’s worked with at the shelter credit him with helping to kickstart that process. One of them was Dillion Toscano, who landed at the shelter several years ago after racking up a “resume” of 25 years of drug addiction, seven misdemeanors, four felonies.

“I had to learn the difference between sobriety and recovery and understand the emotions behind why I was using all of those years,” Toscano said. “There was one man who was responsible for me understanding that and ultimately being successful in recovery, and that was Edwyn Hector.”

After seeing so many of his friends come back from war without limbs or sight or hearing and still being eternally grateful for every breath given to them, Hector said he’s learned that loving yourself is where healing, peace, and change begin.

“You don’t get a second go around at this thing, so it’s time to be kind to you,” he said. “It’s time to love who you are to the fullest.”

Original Post

Tallahassee, FL – (October 24, 2018) “I get to see what I used to look like, what I can be like, and what I want to be like, all in the same place,” said ARC graduate and canteen crew member, Clint Bross. After earning a second chance at life through The Salvation Army’s Adult Rehabilitation Center (ARC), Clint is now serving on the frontlines of The Salvation Army’s disaster relief operation in Tallahassee, FL.

After serving his country in the U.S. Airforce, Clint struggled with drug and alcohol addiction for several years. By 2011, Clint entered The Salvation Army’s Adult Rehabilitation Center (ARC) in Fort Lauderdale, where he not only started living a life of sobriety, but also revived his relationship with God. “I did [other sobriety fellowship programs] but you can only hear so many horror stories. I don’t want to hear horror stories. I wanted to hear positive stories and that’s what the Bible is all about. I started reading it every day at the ARC,” said Clint.

Upon completing the program, Clint became a truck driver for The Salvation Army of Fort Lauderdale, where he gets to transport the very donations that supports the rehabilitation program he graduated from.

Clint has previously served on The Salvation Army’s disaster relief teams for Fort Myers, FL and Puerto Rico. On his second day of providing emergency services for families affected by Hurricane Michael, Clint simultaneously celebrated his seven-year sobriety anniversary.

“I celebrated seven years of sobriety by giving back and that’s awesome. I went from drinking and smoking to standing here, handing out plates…smiling, and giving hope to other people,” said Clint.

In Tallahassee, Clint is currently serving alongside his crew member T.J. Recchione, who also graduated from The Salvation Army’s ARC program in Fort Lauderdale, just two days ago. “It feels great to be able to help people. It feels great to see the gratitude from these people that have that lost so much,” said T.J.

From adult rehabilitation programs to disaster relief services, The Salvation Army is committed to meeting the greatest need.

To help support the disaster relief work of The Salvation Army, donations can be made at www.helpsalvationarmy.org, by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY, by texting STORM to 51555, or by check (designated “2018 Hurricane Season – Michael”) mailed to PO Box 1959, Atlanta, GA 30301.