The Snelson Brothers (Brian, Roy, and Jason) continue the family business of Christian service seared into them by the examples set by mom and dad in the Charleston Citadel Corps.
A Tale Of Three Brothers
By: Major Frank Duracher
Few things could make a parent prouder than to have his/her children follow in the footsteps in the family business—especially when as adults those children are employed in God’s service. Precisely the case with three Snelson Brothers, originally raised in the Charleston Citadel Corps in South Carolina.
Roy, Brian, and Jason (and a sister, Heather) Snelson were all “born into The Salvation Army, it’s the only church that we knew growing up.”
“In the early 1950s, (then) Lieutenant David Holz converted an old bread truck into a church bus and drove it around Charleston to pick up people for corps activities. During the week he used the truck to empty drop-box donations,” explains Roy, the oldest of the siblings. “He picked up our dad and uncles (James, George, Carl) for Sunday School when they were kids. Our grandmother decided she had better go to the Army to see what her sons were getting into.”
That was not all. Snelson cousins Bobo, Richard, Mike, and Cindy came on board. “My dad had 12 siblings and his oldest sister, and her family, lived next door and there were four children there. They, along with the neighborhood kids, would eventually have more than 20 kids and their parents being picked up for church in that converted truck/bus. The rest is history.”
And quite a history. From that innovative outreach, the Army would welcome a multitude of the Snelson/Craven Clan, several becoming Officers and a good number still serving as soldiers. At one point in the Charleston Corps Band, 12 bandsmen belong to this family.
“Everything we learned about serving people came from our parents (David and Carolyn),” admits Brian, the middle son. “Just by watching our parents do what they loved, we learned to love God by loving others.”
When their dad was not working at the steel mill, he was at the corps serving in several volunteer positions until his Promotion to Glory in 1996. Their mom also served in several volunteer positions and still teaches Sunday School.
Of the three boys, only Jason remains in Charleston. But all three serves in Salvation Army Corps in the cities where they now live. Roy is Facilities Manager in Hendersonville, NC, and is founder of the Sons Of The Savior Motorcycle Ministry; and Brian is Maintenance Supervisor in Gastonia, NC. Jason and his sister Heather are accomplished chefs and devote countless hours through Army feeding and disaster services throughout the Low Country of South Carolina.
However, like many people involved in Salvation Army service, their job titles fall far short of all the things they are called on to do.
All three Snelson Boys had to take sizable pay-cuts from lucrative jobs to carry on their parents’ mission. Roy had a promising career in the automotive industry; Brian left positions at the Bosch Corporation and later for a Georgia nuclear facility, and Jason used to be a chef on a Mississippi Riverboat. Jason and Heather also co-owned a Charleston restaurant and a catering company at one point.
“We are benefit-rich, and cash-poor,” Brian says, laughing.
“Our parents were role models in Christian service,” adds Jason, the youngest. “I think we realized early on that this ‘tradition’ of serving others in Christ’s name is something bigger than us.”
Their mom, Carolyn, sat nearby for this interview, so proud of the fact that her children grew up to be “people who care about people.”
“It’s in our blood,” one of the sons piped in.
It seems to be a requisite for being a “Snelson.”