Salvation Army lieutenants Ty and Heather Baze recently assumed leadership duties at the Salvation Army Center in Sierra Vista.

Coming here from Las Vegas, they replaced captains Carlos and Gildete Souza who were transferred to other duty stations.

Prior to their Las Vegas assignment, the lieutenants served 7 years working and volunteering with The Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Center (ARC) and Social Services in Orange County California.

Lieutenant Heather Baze is an officer/pastor in the Salvation Army and started her career in Anaheim, California through one of the many social services that the Salvation Army offers.

She has an associate’s degree in Christian Ministries and is in the midst of becoming certified in substance abuse counseling.

Prior to becoming a pastor/leader in the Salvation Army, Lieutenant Ty had a career in graphic design for almost 16 years. He helped oversee operations as an assistant production manager in the Airline Identification industry. In that role, he helped manage everyday operations in branding interior and exterior designs on airplanes, as well as FAA/PMA regulated safety markings.

Lieutenants Ty and Heather Baze have been married for almost 25 years. They have three children, Ashley 26, Ty Jr. 24, and a very spirited 10-year-old son, Seth.

The lieutenants have been Corps Officers for approximately five years and are looking forward to their involvement here in Sierra Vista.

While in Las Vegas, the lieutenants were heavily involved in developing the assembly and distribution of 4,000 pandemic kits for the seniors and homeless in need of assistance.

Lieutenant Ty said about the experience: “We love being able to give back; A lot of these things are challenging, but we’re looking where the need is and adjusting to it. Whoever thought we’d be wearing masks and gloves?”

Coming into a new assignment is a real challenge but one which the lieutenants are looking forward to meeting. I asked them about their thoughts relative to their new adventure, and they told me: “It is our hopes, that as we dive into God’s work here in Sierra Vista, that we can come along side this amazing, caring and passionate community in helping to serve people who are living inside both the margins, as well as, neighboring communities all over the county.”

One of the major services the Salvation Army provides is serving lunch each day to approximately one-hundred individuals of various socioeconomic backgrounds — homeless, lonely solo seniors, and disabled individuals who are unable to prepare their meals.

Just recently, the lieutenants had to meet a major challenge involving the coronavirus. A volunteer was found to be positive, and the Salvation Army facility had to be closed. However, through their excellent leadership skills, the lieutenants addressed and solved the problem, and only one day was lost for meal service. The lieutenants expressed amazement at the degree of support and help Sierra Vista social service organizations and residents provided to the Salvation Army during this challenge.

Other community programs facing the lieutenants in the midst of the coronavirus crisis are the after school culinary programs for children and administering a $75,000 grant program from the Legacy Foundation to prepare meals for the disabled, elderly, and veterans who are not able to prepare meals for themselves.

They also have the traditional Red Kettle fund drive held at Christmas. The Red Kettles are a major source of funding for the Salvation Army, and volunteer bell ringers are sorely needed. Either individuals or organization can volunteer to “ring the bells.” One challenge that is a reflection of our times is many people don’t carry change with them that they can “toss” in the kettle so a supplemental debit card method of donating had to be developed.

In reflecting upon the Salvation Army’s service to the community, Advisory Board Chair Howard Merkwan said, “Recently I had the opportunity to meet and speak with the new Lieutenants at the Sierra Vista Corps. They seem very excited to be here in the community and are eager to meet the local volunteers who give so much. I look forward to working with Lieutenants Ty and Heather to help those within our community.”

So lieutenants Ty and Heather — Bienvenidos!

Lanny A. Kope, EdD has been a hospital trustee for over forty years, serving on urban and rural hospital boards. He is the past Board Chair of Sierra Vista Regional Health Center and has had a national responsibility as Chair of the American Hospital Association’s Committee on Governance. Dr. Kope is also a University of Phoenix faculty member in Health Care.

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