COLUMBUS, GA (November 27, 2016) – His grandparents and parents both chose to proudly wear the uniform of a Salvation Army officer, but Josh Hinson was not sure he should do the same.
Hinson was studying sports management at the University of West Georgia when he began to consider changing his career path.
“I spent a lot of time in prayer,” he said.
A dinner with his father helped him decide.
“My dad said to make sure I felt called to the job,” he said. “He said if I felt called, I would be miserable doing anything else; but if I did not feel called, I would be miserable doing it.”
Soon after, he realized “this is what God wants me to do.”
The 31-year-old Capt. Hinson took over command of the Columbus post in June, moving here from the Griffin, Ga., location, which he called a “very supportive community.”
His wife of five years, Lt. Jordan Hinson, serves with him. They have three children, the eldest of whom is 3 years old, the youngest about three weeks.
Their offices are at the Lovick P. Corn Worship and Community Center on Warm Springs Road.
Hinson was in Griffin for three years. Before that he was on the staff at the Evangeline Booth College in Atlanta, which trains Salvation Army officers. His father, Maj. Dean Hinson, is the principal there and his mother, Maj. Pamela Hinson, is assistant principal.
Jordan Hinson, who attended the University of South Florida and was a special education teacher, comes from the same background as her husband with parents and grandparents serving the organization.
The Salvation Army, an international movement, is an evangelical part of the Universal Christian Church. Its message is motivated by the love of God.
“Our mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs without discrimination,” the captain said. “The Salvation Army is positioned where there is a great need. We always ask ourselves whether we are meeting that need.”
Asked about a big need here, he said that he has heard the homeless situation involving women and children is a problem.
Asked about making changes in the local operation, he said he is “still evaluating.”
“It would be foolish to do too much until I learn the community,” Hinson said.
There are 18 people on the local staff of the Salvation Army.
Most people associate the Salvation Army with the red kettle bell ringers at Christmas.
They will be out in full force until Christmas Eve.
“We will be at 35 locations,” Hinson said.
Just a few places are Walmart, Macy’s, Sears , Hobby Lobby and Piggly Wiggly.
The goal is to raise $160,000 for their community partner, the United Way of the Chattahoochee Valley.
Hinson first worked as a bell ringer at 16.
“I used to be out all day,” he said. “It’s a long day. I would play games in my mind. I would count how many people said hello. The best moments were when someone would stop and tell me about how the Salvation Army helped one of their family members.”
On occasion, he would take out his alto horn and perform.
This Christmas, the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program will be providing toys to 300 families and also delivering 55 food baskets.
In Columbus, there is a homeless shelter for men on Second Avenue that has 37 beds.
“We average about 18-20 at a time but it might get to be more now that it is turning cold,” he said.
The organization provides utility assistance as well as food and clothing for those in need.
About 75 children attend an after-school program at the center.
Sunday morning church services are held at that location.
“Whenever there is a major disaster, the Salvation Army is there helping victims, feeding them,” Hinson said of the organization that began in 1851.
The Salvation Army Family Store on Manchester Expressway sells donated items at a low price with the proceeds aiding adult rehabilitation centers nationally.
Across the country, the Salvation Army conducts summer camps for children, prison ministries and programs for the elderly.
“Many people just don’t see the full scope of what the Salvation Army does,” Hinson said. “We help in a lot of different ways. We are pretty busy all of the time.”
Article and video from Ledger-Enquirer