Salvation Army truck driver honored to do his part
By: Philip Burn
As a truck driver for The Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Center in Dallas, Texas, Richard Alvarez typically spends his days collecting donations of furniture, clothes and household items from the homes and businesses of generous donors. But for the last three weeks, Alvarez has been delivering much needed personal protective equipment in his Salvation Army truck to hospitals and essential workers in Dallas.
“I was proud to be asked to deliver PPE for of The Salvation Army,” said Alvarez. “It’s good to know what I’m doing is helping staff in hospitals and other locations who look after people and save lives.”
The Salvation Army is partnering with the Texas Division of Emergency Management to provide transportation of essential PPE in cities throughout the state. Deliveries are made to strategic locations including hospitals and other essential services directly affected by the increased demands caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Alvarez has a deep appreciation for places taking care for people in their time of need. He is a graduate of The Salvation Army’s 180-day rehabilitation program and vividly recalls walking through the doors of the Dallas ARC on Feb. 5, 2017. “I came in broken and in desperate need of help,” he said. “I didn’t know anything about The Salvation Army other than they rang bells at Christmastime and I saw them on Thanksgiving Day with the Dallas Cowboys. But walking in here on that first day, I knew it was the right place for me.”
The day after completing the rehabilitation program, Alvarez was hired as a full-time truck driver responsible for collecting donated items and stocking the Dallas-area Salvation Army Family Stores. “My mom shopped at the stores when I was growing up,” he said. “It’s now come full circle. Instead of shopping in the stores, I’m now the one stocking them.”
Social distancing protocols and shelter-in-place orders have resulted in the temporary closure of The Salvation Army Family Stores, putting significant financial strain on operations. As a result, most of the work force were laid off. Alvarez is one of the few remaining drivers, working less hours and at a reduced rate.
“I might be making less money right now, but I can put gas in my car, pay my rent and look after my kids. God will take care of me,” said Alvarez. “I really believe in the ministry of The Salvation Army and am thankful for all they have done for me. The PPE delivery is a great way for me to give back during this crisis. Each day I put my armor on and do my part.”