It was announced at the beginning of November that the Salvation Army of Lincoln County would cease operations following the inability for now former Co-director John Emerson, to continue running operations due to health complications.

Angela Kasten of Lincoln County has decided to accept the responsibility and keep the Salvation Army alive in Lincoln County.

“I actually didn’t know that operations would be ending until I read the post in The Journal,” Kasten said. 

“For me, that was the first I was hearing about it and I read over and was kind of like, ‘I don’t know if I can take this on.’ But then I had several people reach out to me and say ‘can you do this, will you do this, we will help you.’ I told them ‘I don’t know if I can.’ I can’t really take anything else on right now. But in the pit of my stomach I just knew I needed to investigate further.”

She reached out to Emerson, hashed out all the formalities, learned as much as should could about the information and told him that she would give him an answer that evening.

“I talked with my family about it and I just made the decision that I would make this work however possible, I would make it work. I just could not fathom the community not having this service to them and this resource,” Kasten said.

Both her and Emerson were out of state when all of this was coming together, so they communicated in whatever ways possible to share information and set up the necessary functions. “I’ve reached out to everyone that helped us last year and have already received a great response. I posted on social media and have had a lot of people reach out that haven’t helped before that are wanting to step in and help. It’s taking off and I am excited about that. It should be a great year,” Kasten said.

As far as having her work cut out for her, Kasten knows she has a lot of work to do, but she has a support system step up with her that has made it clear that the only possible outcome is success.

“I have to be honest, I can’t say I am surprised. We do a lot in the community, whether it’s through different organizations or our own organization, and I always think what an overwhelming task, we are never going to get this accomplished, you know, we need so much help. And every time, our community pulls through and helps and steps up in an incredible way. So, I am very humbled and very grateful but, honestly, I am not really surprised. This community has shown time and again that when there is a need, they will step in,” Kasten said.

Kasten has been involved, peripherally, through her son’s organization, Kids that Kare, in the Salvation Army bell ringing campaign and is still learning a little on the fly.

“This is still really new to us, new to me. My goal is to get through this bell ringing and then look at what other tasks there are throughout the year,” Kasten said.

The first bell-ringing day is Nov. 29, which in the past has been a difficult time to fill, due to its proximity to Thanksgiving. 

But Kasten has already been filling locations with ringers for that day and the next.

Emerson stated that he was extremely overjoyed that Kasten would be able to step in and keep the organization alive in Lincoln County.

“I was so disappointed that we were on the brink of closing and that Angela has stepped up and is able to do it, I am just overjoyed,” Emerson said.

He will be working with Kasten while she transitions into the position in order to ensure that things go smoothly.

“I need to spend more time with her. I think certainly there is going to be a transition period,” Emerson said.

If interested in getting involved with the Salvation Army’s efforts in Lincoln County, you can reach Kasten by email at salvationarmy_lcmo@yahoo.com or by phone at (314) 496-6678.

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