Salvation Army pair honored for service to the community

Salvation Army Captain David Robinson reflected upon his time in Pine Bluff at a reception sponsored by the SA Ladies Auxiliary on Tuesday morning to honor him and his wife, Captain Joanna Robinson, for their four years of service to the Pine Bluff community.

The Robinsons are being transferred to the Conway Salvation Army Corps as of June 18.

Joanna Robinson was unable to attend the event held at the SA Pine Bluff Headquarters at 12th Avenue and Tennessee Street because of the birth of the couple’s first grandchild Monday in Hot Springs.

“Ms. Captain wanted to be here but you only have one first grandchild and she is spending some time with them today,” David Robinson said. “It still has not set in that next Tuesday we will be leaving Pine Bluff.”

Robinson took the opportunity to poke gentle fun at his wife.

“As far as packing goes, Joanna decided to get a head start on loading the shipping container while I was on disaster relief duty in Oklahoma a couple of weeks ago,” David Robinson said. “She and I have a different idea of packing. She didn’t anchor anything to the inside of the container as she loaded it so I hope it all makes it.”

Robinson next reflected on the move and the couple’s four years in Pine Bluff.

“The birth of a granddaughter is a joyous event,” Robinson said. “I was talking to my son in the parking lot of the hospital yesterday about this latest move. We’ve gone through a lot of changes since we’ve been here. This will be our first move with no kids and their stuff. When we came to Pine Bluff it was me and Joanna and our son and daughter. Now it is just Joanna and I when we leave.”

Robinson said he and his wife have seen positive changes in Pine Bluff during their tenure here.

“Thank you so much to all of you for being here,” Robinson said. “And of giving of your time and your talents. People tell me ‘you’ve made a difference ‘but I say ‘no; you’ve made a difference.’ The thrift store is doing very well but is still in need of items. We have all new furniture in the TV room and new TVs. We sent more than 40 children to camp. We brought the Corps out of debt. There will of course be challenges in Conway. They will be different but just as real.”

Mandy Alford read a proclamation in the Robinsons’ honor from Jefferson County Judge Dutch King and Evelyn Horton read a proclamation from Pine Bluff Mayor Debe Hollingsworth announcing June 11, 2013 as Captains David and Joanna Robinson Day in the city.

Ladies Auxiliary President Dede Foster appreciates the initiative taken by the Robinsons to improve the Salvation Army’s operations in Pine Bluff.

“They’ve been just great,” Foster said. “I’ve been president for three and a half years and they have been here for four years so we have worked closely together. We have been happy to do whatever they needed. We have increased regular participation in the Auxiliary from six to an average of 27 now. We have new playground equipment and televisions thanks to them and sent 40 kids to camp.”

Foster, who volunteers with several organizations, is especially fond of her time with the Salvation Army.

“This has been my favorite job to do and the one that I’ve enjoyed the most,” Foster said.

Auxiliary Recording Secretary Barbara Rhinehart praised the work done by the Robinsons in Pine Bluff.

“Their time in Pine Bluff has meant a great deal to this community,” Rhinehart said. “They have brought the spirit of what the Salvation Army means to this community. They help more people than you think. They managed to give Pine Bluff the spirit to increase support of the Angel Tree and the Red Kettle Campaign. They brought this Corps back to where it should be. We will miss them.”

Carolyn Uschold is the first vice president of the Ladies Auxiliary and serves on the advisory board.

“I’ve seen a real change in the Corps since the Robinsons have been here,” Uschold said. “They brought us from a deficit to debt free. They have done wonderful work after natural disasters with David going to Moore, Okla., after the tornado last month. They are really good p0eople. Their outreach to the neighborhood has been amazing. They both acquired grants that we hadn’t had before. They have also done a wonderful job of bringing up sales at the Thrift Store. They are just real involved with everything that the Corps has to do.”

SA Major Geraldine and Captain David Leonard will be moving from Wyoming to replace the Robinsons.

David Robinson said David Leonard is a native of Little Rock and Geraldine Leonard is a native Southerner.