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Watertown Salvation Army welcomes two new officers

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WATERTOWN — Maj. Robin J. Holmes and Lt. Samantha L. Lockard recently became the Watertown Salvation Army’s new leaders.

The pair, who replaced Lts. Zeb and Summer Hough after their transfer last month to Niagara Falls, began their duties a week and a half ago. While both Maj. Holmes and Lt. Lockard, who also are ordained ministers, said God called them to serve in the Salvation Army, they come from different paths.

Maj. Holmes was invited to a Salvation Army church in her 20s, “realized it was more than just a place you took your furniture and clothes,” and has remained a part of it for two decades. She has been an officer for 16 years. Lt. Lockard, however, just completed her two-year officer training one month ago.

“They practiced what they preached,” Maj. Holmes said, regarding what drew her to the organization. “They said, ‘Go out and help the less fortunate,’ and they were in the trenches helping.”

She most recently was an officer in Meadville, Pa., where she led church service, helped with youth and women’s groups and oversaw agency operations.

Lt. Lockard, however, was born into the Salvation Army. After her parents had a ceremonial dedication, or what the Salvation Army likens to a baptism without the water, she became involved in all things Salvation Army.

“We are a church first, and a social service agency after,” Lt. Lockard said. “I didn’t decide I wanted to be an officer; God told me to be, but since then God has shown me being an officer was a reality and if I followed him it’d work out. I’m excited to start my first appointment in general. I’m just willing to see what God has for me.”

That includes soup kitchen services, something Maj. Holmes said is new to her. Any service, she said, that helps raise the less fortunate up will be a priority.

Prior to her Salvation Army career and lifestyle, Maj. Holmes received a bachelor of science degree in computer science from Syracuse University in 1990 and served as a software engineer for the Saratoga City School District. She is an outdoor enthusiast who loves the snow and said she is excited to be closer to family. Maj. Holmes said she has relatives in Boonville and Hartford.

Lt. Lockard, however, is about five hours from her Berwick, Pa., home, but is familiar with the north country because she had a brother who was stationed at Fort Drum. She first visited the area and the Watertown Salvation Army nine months ago during a visit to see him.

Both Lt. Lockard and Maj. Holmes said they will continue to promote the agency’s social services and refer clients to other agencies as needed, but they also welcome people to join the church. The agency is at 723 State St.

“It’s very busy here; I’m looking forward to learning more about it,” Maj. Holmes said.

For more information, call 782-4470.

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