On Friday May 2, over 200 people gathered to hear stories of hope and transformation. The 2014 Hope Luncheon provided an emotional program, Commissioner Brian Peddle, Territorial Commander for the Salvation Army’s Canada & Bermuda Territory shared a powerful reflection on his experiences as the Territorial Commander.
“I don’t want Giving Hope Today to be a Public Relations tagline, I want it to be an accepted responsibility, I want it to be something that declares evil will not win in the world in which we live and that dignity will be offered and hope will be available to those who need it.”
Commissioner Peddle’s speech focused on how social injustice affects the fibres of the community and the impact The Salvation Army has in giving hope. He also shared a few stories of hope from people he’s met along the way: A former gang member who was introduced to The Salvation Army as part of his parole who now works for The Salvation Army. Instead of creating fear in the community he now gives hope. A woman, who fell into the cycle of alcoholism when her marriage fell apart, lost and wandering the streets at night she noticed a group activity taking place in a thrift store and she looked in, she was invited to join by the Officer leading the group. She is now two years sober living a positive life and contributing to her children and grandchildren’s lives.
The most impactful Hope Story shared was from Steven Hrynevich, who personally shared his vulnerable journey, “I stand here today as a testament of the to the commitment, sacrifice and hard work that are continually being made by those of The Salvation Army, they have been instrumental in not only saving my life but being there with unconditional love and caring during the passing of another.”
It was an emotional journey that started with Steven at a young age, witnessing violence, abuse and challenge that came from the rampant alcoholism in his family. He shared how he graduated from highschool, and University and how he learned to cope with the horrors of his past through the numbing effect of alcohol.
Steven struggled with alcoholism for 27 years and when he was directed to The Salvation Army, he was provided with the assistance he heeded to overcome his addiction to lead a positive and sober life.
Even more impactful was when Steven shared how The Army was able to help him a second time when his wife was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Steven’s wife was provided palliative care through The Salvation Army’s Grace Hospital, “She spent the final three weeks of her life there and was surrounded by nurses, sorry, I meant to say Angels, which provided an environment that was physically and spiritually supportive, respectful and full of caring and love. My wife passed on May 8, 2010, the day of our 28th wedding anniversary and I was there by her side sober, helping to ease her into the next life.”
Other speakers included Barbara Housser, Advisory Board Chair, The Honourable Roger Simmons, event host, Lt Col Larry Martin, Patricia Cuff and Bruce Williams.
The event raised $14,000 the funds will be used to support the programs the community depends on.