05/31/11 — Salvation Army chiefs take on new challenge

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Salvation Army chiefs take on new challenge

By Becky Barclay
Published in News on May 31, 2011 1:46 PM

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Salvation Army Maj. Andrew Wiley and his wife, Hazel, will leave Wayne County for a new assignment.

Salvation Army Maj. Andrew Wiley was working in the organization's social service office when a woman came in desperate for help for her sister, who was in the hospital.

A minor surgery had developed complications and her sister's stay at the hospital in Chapel Hill had been extended. The single mother was financially strapped, to the point of having no electricity once she got out of the hospital.

The Salvation Army was able to step in and help with the bill and even the woman's rent.

But despite the material help, however, Wiley, recognized that the woman had other needs. The stress of caring for her sister was overwhelming her.

Easter was approaching and Wiley talked the woman into going to church on Sunday -- something she hadn't been able to do since her sister's surgery -- and take care of her spiritual needs before visiting her sister at the hospital.

It's helping people not only with bills and food, but also helping take care of their spiritual and emotional needs that makes the job of Salvation Army commander rewarding, Wiley said. And it's something he will miss when he and wife, Maj. Hazel Wiley, start their new assignment in Washington, D.C., June 20.

Wiley will serve as the divisional secretary at the divisional headquarters for the National Capital Division. His wife will serve as the assistant divisional women's ministries secretary and the older adult ministries secretary.

The Wileys first came to Goldsboro six years ago. They said they have seen a lot of changes in that time, including replacing the Salvation Army building's old hand-cranked windows sealed with duct tape with insulated ones.

They have also been able to get the thrift store parking lot paved and a number of potholes filled. The thrift store is one of the most important operations of the Salvation Army because it generates fund to support the programs.

Wiley said it hasn't been easy the past six years keeping the Salvation Army's programs going.

"When we came here six years ago, the Salvation Army was struggling financially," he said. "And that was before the hard economic times.

"We had to decrease our operating hours, but everybody here kept their jobs and didn't lose any benefits. But when staff left, we weren't able to replace them. We were just beginning to feel like we were making some progress when the economy bottomed out. So there we were again with another challenge."

When that happened, Wiley saw people who had formerly been donors now becoming clients.

"People who had never had to ask for help were suddenly depending on us to stay in their home, keep the lights on or put food on their table," he said. "The frustrating part is that we have found ourselves too many times having to turn people away because we didn't have the resources."

Worrying about how to help people with limited resources takes its toll on Wiley, who said he tends to take his job home with him.

But he also feels the challenges he and his wife have faced here have helped prepare them for their new roles.

"The position will be an administrative and supervisory role for the local units in that district, which includes Virginia, D.C., and two big cities in Maryland," Wiley said. "We'll draw a great deal on the time we've spent here and the challenges we've gone through."

In his new job, Wiley will oversee 32 Salvation Army units and four rehabilitation centers. He will be third in command of the region, handling business, personnel, properties and social service programs.

"It will be pushing a lot of paper, making a lot of phone calls and doing a lot of field work," Wiley said. "We will visit Salvation Army churches two Sundays out of the month."

Mrs. Wiley will oversee all of the women's program, in addition to planning a senior adult camp each year.

The Wileys will also be in a position to "pastor the pastors" of the Salvation Army.

The Wileys both grew up in the Salvation Army, Wiley having been commissioned for 27 years and Mrs. Wiley for 24. Their assignments have included High Point, Wilson, Florence, S.C., Reidsville, Hendersonville and Rocky Mount.

They have two daughters, Sarah Elizabeth, 17, and Rachel Elizabeth, 15. Both of the girls have been active in the Salvation Army here, and will continue to be active in the organization.

"It's hard in a lot of ways to leave, but we've known all these years, when we came into the ministry these days were coming," Mrs. Wiley said.

"You just rely hard on your faith. The Lord will get us through this. He's never sent us where he hasn't already gone before us. We know that he won't fail us this time."

Wiley agreed.

"We know without a doubt that when we entered the ministry years ago, we committed to serve wherever we were placed," he said. "We have to believe if that's where we're being appointed, that's where we need to be for this time."

But Wiley admitted that it will be hard not having his North Carolina barbecue.