The Salvation Army of Pekin is switching things up with its leadership.

In the past, couples have always served at the Salvation Army — captains and majors. Majors Rick and Kim Ray recently departed for a new post in Bay City, Michigan.

Jim Prichard, newly appointed Corps Administrator in Pekin, has served with the Salvation Army for over 30 years in several leadership positions. He spent seven years in previous appointments in Lansing, Jackson, and Livingston County, all in Michigan. He most recently served as the corps administrator in Davenport, Iowa. He has three grown children and five grandchildren, all living in Michigan. He has served over 25 years as a volunteer firefighter and EMT. His hobbies include camping, biking and teaching music.

“I’m just the administrator,” said Prichard. “So I’m a layperson. I’m not sure why they picked a single person to come here, but there’s a lot of work to be done.

“But I was a single person in Davenport, Iowa. I filled in for six months up there. So I’m expected to do the same amount of work as a married couple. I’m in charge of overseeing the operations here in Pekin. So that means I oversee the (Rust Transitional Center), the social service aspect, our day camp, as well as the church activities that happen here on Sundays. Our youth programs will start up in September, so I will be overseeing all of those activities as well.”

Salvation Army District Headquarters Tri-County Coordinator Jesse Collins oversees the administrative aspects of Pekin, as well as Canton and Peoria. Prichard will report to him.

During his time with the Salvation Army, he has been heavily involved in children’s programs, said Prichard.

“We’re hoping we can build our youth programs here,” said Prichard. “We’re looking at reorganizing our community center, so in the next three years we’re planning on revamping (...) how it looks.

“We’re looking at after-school programs so that we can meet the needs of some of the families that can’t afford the latchkey programs at the schools. So we’re trying to find out what the needs are of the school systems for the after-school hours between the hours when the kids get out school and the parents get home.”

Prichard said the facility has a gym and a community room upstairs with games and tables. There is also room for tutoring. The former childcare at the facility would not be used for the programs, because it would require a complete overhaul — an expensive project. Several youth programs already operate out of the shelter — Boy Scouts, character building, archery class and others.

“We have to figure out what areas of Pekin we want to reach out to draw in the youth,” he said. Volunteers will handle the youth programs, so there will be little cost.

The Rust Transitional Center will continue as is for the most part, but Prichard said he would like to increase the hours there for single men. Currently, he said, the men come in at 8 p.m. Prichard wants to have the men’s section open at 5 p.m. so they can get a good evening meal instead.

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