Captains Deb and Jim VanderHeyden are the new people heading up the Salvation Army here.

They’re small town people too

New Salvation Army captains are enjoying Terrace’s friendliness and love helping others

The city’s new Salvation Army captains intend to stay around for a long time.

Deb and Jim VanderHeyden started July 1, taking over from majors Lucy and Warrick Pilgrim, who were here for a year.

We plan on becoming majors in Terrace,” said Deb, adding they’ve been captains for nine years and have another six years to go to become majors. “We find people here very friendly and we come from a small community so we’re comfortable speaking to people on the street.”

They like that a lot of people were born here and still live here; in their previous locale of Fort St. John, people had mostly migrated in from elsewhere. Before Fort St. John, they were in Quesnel.

The VanderHeydens are from Wiarton, Ontario, known for Wiarton Willie, the groundhog who predicts whether the end of winter is coming soon or not on Groundhog Day.

They got involved in the Salvation Army after becoming Christians and when they went to the Sally Ann, met a “proper English gentleman” who greeted them, talked to them and was a genuine person which made a real difference to them.

He certainly has given us a model to follow,” said Deb.

They have been married 29 years and have one son, who lives in Ontario with his wife and kids and the rest of their relatives.

The emergency response truck is new to them; they took it to the Riverboat Days fireworks, handed out hot chocolate and met many people.

They’re taking a look at what the community needs and filling them

We’re still seeing where we fit in. Our heart is with children.”

They’re looking to connect with children and let them know that the Salvation Army is a safe place to go and not too far away.

A new program is ready to roll out where kids watch a DVD, are presented with a situation, and then get into groups to decide what to do in that situation and then watch it to see what others have done.

It’s Biblical-based learning and they’ll learn to pray and their responsibilities to each other

The Christmas hamper program here is more than twice as big as in Fort St. John with last year’s number of recipients around 500 here compared to 200.

The client numbers have increased over the years and there are a lot of working poor who are working but just need that hand up to get through Christmas.

It’s amazing when we can be that hand up,” says Deb. The couple is looking forward to our winters here, which they believe are better than Fort St. John, where winters started at the beginning of October and didn’t let up until the end of April.

They say people who’d like to come by and have coffee with them are welcome any day, except Monday which is their day off.

The Sunday church service is at 11 a.m. in the newly painted church hall on Kalum Street.