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Local Salvation Army post gets new leaders

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ROCHELLE B. BIRKELO
February 5, 2011
— The new leaders of the local Salvation Army arrived on time, but their belongings suffered a blizzard delay.

Majors Robert and Ruth Fay arrived Monday from St. Louis, but their truck of personal belongings was delayed by the weather and won't be here until next week.


The majors replace Capts. Kirk and Carolyn Schuetz, who were transferred by the Salvation Army's territorial office in Chicago to take over the Fay's post in Missouri. Their last day in Janesville was Jan. 30.


Robert and Ruth, both 55, bring more than three decades of Salvation Army experience with them after serving the religious and charitable organization in nine cities in five states—Illinois, Missouri, Minnesota, Michigan and Wisconsin.


This latest transfer "was a compassionate move motivated by personal need," said Robert, whose parents live in Beloit.


"God loves people. We love people. That's our strength," Ruth said.


"We're passionate about what we do," Robert added.


Robert has a strong background in fundraising, while Ruth is a gifted leader, they said of each other.


Although the Fays are not yet settled, they've conducted staff meetings and planned a Valentine's Day party.


The Fays said they are thrilled to be back in Wisconsin. Robert is a Beloit native, and Ruth is a native of Menomonie. They met at a Salvation Army music camp in East Troy when they were 13. Robert told Ruth he was going to marry her when they were 14. The two were married seven years later in October 1975. They have two adult daughters and two grandsons.


Robert described himself as "a lifer" of the Salvation Army. His parents were members of the Salvation Army congregation in Beloit, where he attended Sunday school and other church activities. His grandmother was involved in the Salvation Army, too, and the couple's youngest daughter and son-in-law are enrolled in the Salvation Army College for Officer Training in Chicago.


Robert's passion for ministry attracted him to the Salvation Army.


"The idea is we experience and recognize God's love in very practical ways. We have an open door to help people understand God's love," he said.


Ruth explained her appeal to the church and social services agency in Paul Harvey's words: "The Salvation Army is Christianity with it's sleeves rolled up."


The Fays said the local Salvation Army is in good shape thanks to the Schuetzes and current staff.


"There are not issues to be dealt with. So our goal is to maintain the good, build on the past and continue to meet the needs here," Robert said.



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