Originally from Newfoundland, Lt. Stefan Reid and wife Tinisha will soon get a look at life on the other coast of Canada.
But that means the corps officers of Vernon’s Salvation Army will be leaving the North Okanagan.
The Reids have been assigned to the Victoria suburb of Langford, where they will oversee operations at the Sally Ann’s Connection Point Church and Resource Centre, effective Aug. 17.
“We are getting excited to go to Langford, meet the people, the church congregation and to see what God has in store for us,” said Reid, a native of Dildo, located 60 kilometres west of St. John’s and about an eight-hour drive south of Tinisha’s hometown of La Scie. The couple has a daughter, Rachel, eight.
The Reids arrived in Vernon on Canada Day 2016, fresh from the Salvation Army’s training college in Winnipeg, and couldn’t have asked for a better spot for their first-ever posting.
“The first thing we noticed was how community-minded Vernon is,” said Reid. “When there’s a need, the community surrounds itself with everyone willing to pitching in. It’s also one of the most beautiful places in Canada.”
Asked if there was one event that stood out for him in his four years at the helm of the local Salvation Army, Reid pointed to 2020.
“These past 10 weeks have probably been the most impactful,” he said. “It’s been extremely busy with plenty of uncertainty due to COVID-19, but the community support has been fantastic. They’ve brought in $110,000 and the amount of food that has been donated to us is great. Every time we put out the call for help, the community has supported us.”
Reid is also a big fan of the Okanagan Military Tattoo, which cancelled its seventh annual show in 2020 due to the novel coronavirus.
“I loved being part of it,” he said. “It gets to the roots of what we do.”
The Reids will be training their replacements who are no strangers to Vernon and the Salvation Army.
Neil and Jennifer Thompson will take over.
Jennifer is a 14-year employee of the Sally Ann in Vernon and she and Neil have been part of the church congregation for nearly 13 years.
Neil has worked with the John Howard Society. He has helped with the Salvation Army’s food drives and, after hours, conducts bible studies and organizes youth groups.
“They’re not strangers to the community. The transition will go very well,” said Reid, adding he and his family will miss the place they’ve called home for four years.
“Vernon will always have a special place in our hearts.”