OGDEN — The Salvation Army here has cause to celebrate, as officials are marking the organization’s 125-year history in the area.
“We’re very proud to say that we’ve been here 125 years,” said Lt. Peter Pemberton, at an observance of the anniversary last week.
“We’re eager to come alongside this community and do whatever we can to be great neighbors.”
The celebration, on the steps of the Salvation Army’s thrift store, was attended by groups of people, from the organization’s board of directors to clients of the facility.
Ogden city officials and members of the Ogden-Weber Chamber and the chamber’s Spiker’s organization also were in attendance.
“The Salvation Army continues to serve where the need is the greatest,” Ogden Mayor Mike Caldwell said.
He recalled the first Salvation Army offices were where Rooster’s restaurant is now.
The mayor said that, through all of those years, the Salvation Army has provided for those in need of shelter, food, clothing and recovery from addiction.
He said the Salvation Army’s current location was purchased in 1973.
“We can’t thank you enough for your passion and commitment,” he said to officials.
Dave Hardman, president of the Ogden-Weber Chamber, recalled chamber members gathering two truckloads of items last year for the Salvation Army to distribute.
He praised the Salvation Army for remembering those most in need at Christmas time.
The Salvation Army’s Intermountain divisional commander, Col. Dan Starrett, praised the other organizations and supporters represented at the celebration.
“How wonderful it is to be a partner and to be working beside so many partners in Ogden,” he said.
The Ogden Salvation Army’s official history states that on May 24, 1887, Capt.Maud Sharp and seven others set off for Utah from Oakland, Calif., by way of railroad.
“On June 3rd of that year, this ‘Band of Salvationists’ pulled into Ogden armed with Coronet, Tambourine, Drums, and the Word of God,” reads the history.
The document describes Sharp as a woman of commanding stature.
“Her gaze indicated firm determination to save souls!”
And she was determined to lead her followers to save the souls on Ogden’s notorious 25th Street, which at that time was home to prostitution parlors, bars, opium dens and gambling houses.
By 1898, The Salvation Army in Utah had organized corps in Ogden, Salt Lake City, Provo and Park City.
“While it is necessary for programs to be revised throughout the years, the mission of The Salvation Army remains the same: ‘To Meet Human Needs in His Name Without Discrimination!’ ” reads the history. “The Salvation Army in Utah has been fulfilling that mission for 125 years, and is dedicated to continue for many more to come.”