Archive for Thursday, June 22, 2006

Leavenworth Salvation Army prepares for new leadership

June 22, 2006

— Mark and Valerie Nance will be making a long trip next week with their family, from the brisk Upper Peninsula of Michigan to Leavenworth to experience their first blistering Kansas summer, as they take over leadership at the Leavenworth Salvation Army.

Chuck and Dana Cook, the current Leavenworth leadership, will also be making a move, although shorter, to take over operations of the Salvation Army in Pittsburg, in southeast Kansas. The change in leadership will be effective June 28.

While serving here for the past four years, the Cooks are pleased with what they have done. Or, as Chuck Cook puts it, there have been "no tremendous strides, but no setbacks."

"We've accomplished a good sense of community," Chuck Cook said. "We've been well accepted. We are happy with the fact things have gone well."

The couple is especially proud of what they achieved with the Salvation Army's youth programming, which involves character building and both girls and boys ministries.

One improvement Cook said he wished he could have accomplished during his tenure but was unable was improving the old Salvation Army building, which was built in 1969. The building is not laid out well for day care and also presents challenges for people with disabilities.

Though moving to another part of Kansas, the Cooks said they would miss Leavenworth.

"We love Leavenworth," said Chuck Cook, because it has the "best of both worlds" - being near Kansas City but also being its own community.

The new leadership, Mark and Valerie Nance, have been serving the past two years in Hancock, Mich., and previously worked in Fort Dodge, Iowa, for five years. They are looking forward to putting down roots in Kansas, where the average assignment at a Salvation Army is five years.

"We hope to spend a good number of years in Leavenworth," Mark Nance said.

The Nances received news nearly a month ago that they would be moving. Since then, Mark Nance said, they've been doing "a lot of work in a short period of time" to get ready to move and to "come in and hit the ground running."

Nance most looks forward to networking with other agencies, meeting local pastors and area officials. He plans to work with the current day care program and expand the Salvation Army's current programs.

"We will do our best to make the Salvation Army the best it can be," he said.

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