Doing More than most realize

Hearing “The Salvation Army” evokes thoughts of red kettles and thrift stores. While those are certainly important components of what The Salvation Army does, the organization involves so much more.
Major Joanna Robinson serves as corps officer for the Salvation Army of Conway. Her husband, Major David Robinson, works alongside her in an effort to further the organization’s mission to assist those in need.
The Robinsons have been married for 32 years this December. They have two children. Their daughter, Risa, lives in Muskogee, Oklahoma and also works for The Salvation Army. Their son, Barry, is married to Christina, and they have two children, Laila LeighAnn, 3 and Major David, 1.
Joanna and David have been in Conway for three years, but their affiliation with The Salvation Army dates further back. “I grew up attending The Salvation Army church in Ponca City, Oklahoma as a youth. Later, David and I attended The Salvation Army Seminary, which is called The Evangeline Booth College, in Atlanta, Georgia for two years,” says Joanna. Both Joanna and David are commissioned as lieutenants. They have each served in an officer capacity for 17 years.
Joanna’s role at The Salvation Army is that of a Salvationist, which means she is an ordained minister of the Christian faith who fulfills roles not typically filled by clergy in other denominations. “We do so having been trained, ordained, and commissioned to serve and lead. We are also given a quasi-military rank. What David and I always say is that we marry and bury and everything in between,” she says.
The Robinsons enjoy working together. “David and I work best as a team because of our calling to be pastors. We love The Salvation Army and all it stands for. We love preaching the Gospel, and we love helping people! We go to bed at night knowing that we have helped, prayed with, cried with, and laughed with people all in one day,” shares Joanna.
Their careers began at the Bartlesville, Oklahoma Salvation Army, where they served from 1996 to 1997. From there, they attended the aforementioned Salvation Army Evangeline Booth College in Atlanta. Over the years, the Robinsons served in many different Salvation Army locations, including:
• Charlottesville, Virginia from 1999 to 2000
• Port Arthur, Texas from 2000 to 2004
• Conroe, Texas from 2004 to 2009
• Pine Bluff, Arkansas from 2009 to 2013
• Conway, Arkansas from 2013 to present
They have also completed continuing education at Asbury University in Wilmore, Kentucky and Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville, Tennessee.
When asked about the operation, Joanna explains, “First and foremost we are a church, where we hold services on Sunday and Wednesday, and we have praise and worship practice. We have a social service office where we help with food, utilities, rent, and clothing vouchers. We have a family store where people can donate clothes, shoes, furniture, and household items. If donors need to have items picked up, we have a truck that will do that! Just call 501-329-3158 to schedule a pickup, and you’ll even get a tax exempt receipt.” When asked about needs in Faulkner County, she says, “The homeless population is out there, and just having more shelter for them is important.”
The Salvation Army has specific needs heading into the Christmas season. “I love Christmas volunteers! We would love to have more volunteers man our red kettles by ringing the bell. We also need people to help at our Angel Tree Cheer Center, which is where we set up to help the families who have come to The Salvation Army for help with Christmas toys and food.” To volunteer for the angel tree, contact Joanna at The Salvation Army. To volunteer for the red kettles, contact Kelly Spencer. “We love families, church groups, school groups, college fraternities and sororities, scout groups....really anyone can ring,” she says.
Joanna and David have enjoyed their time in the community, saying, “Conway and Faulkner County has been a great place to live and serve. We look forward to what’s in the future for The Salvation Army here!”