After seven years of exemplary service to the Watertown Salvation Army, Captain Evelyn Hopping will leave later this month for reassignment as leader of the Oneonta Salvation Army Corp. This is a great loss to the Watertown Salvation Army and to the community at large. But, rather than mourn our loss, we should gratefully reflect on how fortunate we have been to have had her wonderful leadership. While here, Captain Hopping established and developed several programs for youth grades kindergarten through 12. These programs have been geared to help build self-confidence and character among this group. The programs also provide fun through singing, dancing and drama arts, and warm meals while at the same time promoting sound Christian principles through church services and Bible studies.
Under Captain Hoppings guidance, the summer camp program has grown to allow approximately 60 young people to spend a week each summer at the Salvation Army camping facilities in Penn Yan. Evelyn has also advanced a day program that runs during school breaks and the summer months, which allows parents to drop off their children at the State Street facility knowing that they will be monitored in a safe environment where they can have fun and learn some important life skills.
In addition to those programs for youth, Captain Hopping has expanded several other existing programs, including a soup kitchen, which provides nutritious meals to adults and children Monday through Saturday. The Christmas basket program has also expanded, where it now provides over 600 families with food and toys each year. The annual Thanksgiving dinner has also grown to a point where 600 meals are now served each year.
In recognition of her accomplishments, Captain Hopping was recently awarded the Watertown Youth Bureaus Adult Community Award for her work in the Watertown community.
We will miss Captain Hopping both on a personal and professional basis, but wish her well and know that her skills will benefit the Oneonta community.
Bruce R. Irwin
The writer is president of the Watertown Salvation Army Board of Advisers.