After five years of dedicated service to our community, one couple has accepted the call to move on. Majors Alfred and Stella Parker are leaving the Grand Valley at the end of the month, but the legacy they leave behind will always be near.
Over the last five years, countless mouths have been fed, addictions overcome, and confidence to take on life's challenges has been restored for many in the Grand Valley. Lives, once considered lost, are now found thanks to the leadership of Majors Alfred and Stella Parker.
"That's what I'm going to miss, is that I love to watch the lives change for the better," said Stella Parker. "And there's been a lot of those I've seen in just the five years".
They say miss, because the Salvation Army says the Parkers' work here is done -- and it's time to move on. The next chapter in their service-driven lives will be written in Casper, Wyoming. And if it's anything like the chapter that is now finishing up, it will contain many pages.
"Major makes sure everyone is helped no matter what," said Sibyl Marsh, an administrative assistant at the Salvation Army. "He makes sure his employees know that nobody that comes in for assistance leaves without something in their hand".
A philosophy that was never more noticeable than during the holidays.
"One of the things I really remember and appreciate the Parkers for is the Christmas activities they've done," said Tyler Riehl, a Salvation Army Board Member. "It's amazing to see the fifteen hundred, two thousand families bring food and toys home for their families."
But instead of taking credit, the Parkers point out they wouldn't have been successful without the support of this community.
"From the ten dollar donor to the ten thousand dollar donor to the lady that comes in and sorts antiques for a couple hours a week, everyone has come in and done their part," said Alfred Parker.
Truth be known, our community has made such an impression this may not be the last time we see the Parkers after all.
"This is a wonderful community," said Alfred Parker. "In fact, so much so, we have just nine years until we retire and we're thinking of coming back here".
The Parkers are expected to report for duty in Casper on July 1 -- that's the same day Captains Dan and Terry Wilson will take the reigns in Grand Junction.