El Paso Celebrates 125 Years of Mission, Ministry, and Music
By: Philip Burn
It was an exciting weekend in El Paso, Texas as The Salvation Army celebrated 125 years in the Sun City together with Commissioners Kelly and Donna Igleheart, territorial commander and territorial president of women’s ministries of the Southern Territory. A rededication of the family shelter on Saturday, July 15 was followed by the graduation of the corps’ four-week Music & Arts Conservatory on Sunday, July 16.
Commissioners Igleheart arrived in El Paso on Friday and visited The Salvation Army Family Center, meeting employees and volunteers and learning about the mission in the borderland involving local displaced families, refugees, and quarantined families and individuals.
El Paso is so far west that it was previously part of The Salvation Army Western Territory until “coming home” to the Texas Division in July 2010. This was the Commissioners’ first visit to the area, and Majors Eloisa and Floiran Estrada, leaders of The Salvation Army in El Paso, arranged for the Iglehearts to tour the shelter and administrative building, the corps, and the County Migrant Services Center. The Salvation Army remains the only partnering non-governmental organization at the migrant center, providing meals and hygiene kits to new arrivals who have been successfully vetted by immigration services and are awaiting transportation to their final destinations in the US.
The Salvation Army family shelter in El Paso was one of 100 locations across the nation selected for the Lowe’s Hometown grant in 2022. Renovations and repairs to the dorm rooms, bathrooms, hallways, lobby, and more were made possible by this generous support from Lowe’s. The rededication service at the shelter was attended by staff from Lowe’s, local city and county officials, representatives of the Chamber of Commerce, Advisory Board members, and supporters. After a ribbon cutting ceremony, Commissioner Kelly Igleheart addressed the community on the mission and ministry of The Salvation Army and thanked Lowe’s and other community partners for their support.
Sunday was a day of celebration at the El Paso Citadel Corps as the fifth annual “Better Together” Music & Arts Conservatory presented their graduation concert. More than 20 young people attended daily classes during the four-week conservatory in brass, music theory, choir, and drama, led by a committed and qualified staff. Parents and friends filled the chapel and were treated to wonderfully energetic performances from the young musicians interspersed with solo performances from conservatory staff. Music students presented choir special “We’re All in This Together” as the final performance. All graduating students received certificates and medals, and the five top students were awarded trophies.
“Being so far from Camp Hoblitzelle in Dallas, we decided that if our kids could not go to the divisional music conservatory, we would bring conservatory to them,” said Major Floiran Estrada. “This has become our tradition, and we are so happy to have welcomed more than 20 students to the program. We’re extremely proud of our young musicians and are grateful to God for sending us excellent teachers, great volunteers, and generous sponsors.”