Honoring Excellence in Social Service

Ready for Mission, Equipped for Service

That was the theme of The Salvation Army‘s National Social Services and Disaster Management Conference that was held last month in Phoenix.

The five-day meeting hosted inspiring speakers and workshops to help Salvation Army officers and employees refine their skills and deepen their commitment to the life-changing work of social service and disaster relief. An important part of the conference is recognizing certain individuals for their stellar work in either area.

One of the awards is for Individual Excellence in Social Work and is given to one person from each of the four territories. What does social work entail? To name a few of The Salvation Army’s program areas, this includes helping homeless individuals and families find temporary or long-term housing, protecting and empowering victims of domestic abuse, providing physical and spiritual rehabilitation to adults of substance abuse, or managing youth services in the form of camps, after-school programs, recreation or foster care.

Here is the impressive lineup of award winners. We thank these individuals for their inspiring dedication, example and service!

Louise Simmons, Divisional Social Services Secretary for the Northern Division, receives her award from Commissioners William and Nancy Roberts.

Louise Simons (Central Territory): As Divisional Social Services Secretary for the Northern Division, Louise has been a blessing to the Division for her 16 years of leadership, skill and understanding of social services. She is often “on the line” at disaster situations. (She even knows how to work a fork lift!)

Her inspiring leadership stems from an infectious enthusiasm and passion to help clients and coworkers alike. Loved for her warmth and generosity, she embodies the best of Salvation Army social services.

Florence Rhue, Director of Children's Services for The Salvation Army- Eastern Pennsylvania and Delaware Division.

Florence Rhue (Eastern Territory): Florence is the Director of Children’s services for The Salvation Army in the Eastern Pennsylvania and Delaware Division. Over the course of 21 years, she has worked in every imaginable capacity of the Foster Care program to develop it into a highly respected and financially sound program.

From overseeing the entire program down to cleaning the playroom, Florence is an example of dedicated servant leadership which reflects God’s love for his precious children.

Deronda Metz, Director of Social Services for the Charlotte, NC Area Command.

Deronda Metz (Southern Territory): Deronda began her journey with The Salvation Army by answering phones at the Center of Hope women and children’s shelter in Charlotte, NC. Since that time 22 years ago, she has developed into one of the community’s most respected experts in services to homeless women and children, transforming the shelter into a campus of on-site services, including a clinic, computer lab, job training, GED courses, case management, substance abuse treatment and more.

As Director of Social Services in Charlotte, North Carolina Area Command, she oversees the care of more than 5,600 women and children annually. Her achievements shine in countless stories of transformed and restored women and children.

Lawrence Williams, Executive Director of The Salvation Army's Honolulu Addiction Treatment Services.

Lawrence Williams (Western Territory): As Executive Director of The Salvation Army’s Honolulu Addiction Treatment Services (ATS), Larry’s leadership led to ATS becoming a nationally accredited provider of substance abuse and treatment services in 1990. Larry’s work has resulted in more than 1,200 clients annually receiving quality treatment and recovery services at ATS. This includes residential detoxification and treatment, intensive inpatient and outpatient counseling, a chaplaincy program of counseling, prayer, Sunday services, vocational counseling, job seeking and housing assistance.

Larry has created an effective team of leaders who value his vision, leadership and presence.