New leaders promise to tend to Odessa
Having benefitted from the Salvation Army since they were young teens, it only seemed natural for the new Salvation Army Lieutenants Juan and Clara Gomez to become a part of the organization as adults.
“The Salvation Army loved me when I didn’t have a general background of mom and dad at home, it was just mom who was working all the time, so I have to remember that there’s other people who need and depend on the Salvation Army for love and for service,” Clara Gomez said.
This drive to help others has led the Gomez family to dedicate their family’s life to serving others through the Salvation Army.
“This is life for us, it has been since we were very young,” Juan Gomez said. “The difference is that now we are on the other side of the feeding line. We used to come in and others would feed us, and now we have the opportunity to feed them.”
The Gomez’s have been working for the Salvation Army for about 13 years now, including their two years in seminary college. They have been lieutenants in El Paso and Freeport for the last four years with their five kids.
“The thing with the Salvation Army is that it’s not a business opportunity, it’s not an opportunity for us to progress … it’s a call to service,” Juan Gomez said.
This call to serve has given the Gomez family many opportunities to attend to the communities they have been assigned, something they say they are grateful for.
“Aside from the fact that it’s a ministry and we understand that we’re called to this, it’s the opportunities that we have to be of service,” Juan Gomez said. “During hurricane Harvey, being able to go into places that nobody else was willing or able to go. It gives us the opportunity to say yes when other people have to say no.”
With that call to serve, the Gomez’s say they are excited to aid the Odessa community.
“We’re excited, actually, to be here in Odessa, there is lots of opportunity here,” Juan Gomez said. “We hear of a community that is just so willing to give and to share and to be a part of, not only the mission of the Salvation Army, but the success of the Salvation Army.”
The Gomez’s say they are committed to continue with the promises that the Salvation Army has previously made to the community, including the restoration of their shelter.
“We definitely plan, full steam ahead, of renovating the shelter because it’s needed,” Clara Gomez said. “It’s much needed in the community, we are full at capacity right now in our shelter and we are very big on making sure that our shelter guests are taken care of because they need the helping hand.”
Whether it’s with the shelter restoration or with anything else, the Gomez’s say they promise to tend to the community and its needs.
“The accountability on our end and our promise to the community is that it will get better,” Juan said. “As it progresses, as it gets better, we will be good stewards of what we have been given.”