Tampa ARC Honors Graduates, Alumni with Phil Keaggy Concert

By: Jay Winchester

When one thinks “Salvation Army,” what typically comes to mind initially is the jingling of Christmas bells and bright red donation kettles that seem to be everywhere at Christmastime. While these time-honored images hold true to the Army’s mission of helping those in need, the night of April 7 made it clear that, when it comes to The Salvation Army, there’s also a time to rock!

That night, at Grace Family Church in Tampa, Florida, Majors John and Katherine Reed, administrators, hosted the Second Annual Alumni Celebration for The Salvation Army’s Tampa Adult Rehabilitation Center.  The event celebrates the journey of rehabilitation from drugs and alcohol undertaken by the men who come to the ARC seeking help.  In a private reception and dinner, ARC leadership presented several awards celebrating the hard work and determination of men willing to surrender to Jesus Christ, and begin living new lives.  A highlight of the evening was the Army’s announcement of plans to build a women’s facility to accompany the men’s unit.

The event was also part fundraiser, featuring a free concert by legendary Dove Award winner and contemporary Christian music pioneer, guitarist Phil Keaggy, who has enjoyed a long association with The Salvation Army.  In fact, a regular installment in Keaggy’s set list is the song, “Salvation Army Band,” a musical tribute to the mission of The Salvation Army.  The concert portion of the evening opened with a worshipful set of heavy rock and rap performed by the Army’s own Second Hand Band. They then yielded the stage to the six-string inventiveness of Keaggy, whose own set was highlighted by several numbers from his new album, “All At Once.”  With over 1,000 in attendance, it was a night to remember – and a cause to celebrate.