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Meet Dick Barnett.


The Salvation Army
Emergency Disaster Services

Dick Barnett has dedicated his life to strengthening and saving the lives of others, first during his 30-year career in the military and now as a 17-year veteran of The Salvation Army (including six years of volunteer service).

Before retiring from the U.S. Army as a Lieutenant Colonel in 1984, Barnett made many important contributions to the nation, including serving as a presidential communications officer under President Richard Nixon and assisting in the coordination of the command and control communications support for the evacuation of Saigon in April 1975.

It was after Barnett retired from the U.S. Army and had begun working for GE Aerospace in Moorestown, NJ, that he became deeply involved in community service by partnering with his son, Wade, to provide Christmas gifts to single mothers and their children in Burlington County, NJ. This effort led to the formation of a non-profit that ultimately began collaborating with The Salvation Army Reading Corps Community Center in Barnett's home county. In 1992, Barnett joined The Salvation Advisory Board and then began serving as the corps community center's business administrator from 1998 to 2003 before accepting his current role as Coordinator of Service Extension and Volunteer Services.

Today, Barnett, age 75, is responsible for providing emergency assistance throughout Berks County. Barnett manages volunteers from eight Salvation Army service units to ensure families in need receive vouchers for critical living expenses. He has also helped send scores of children during the summer months to The Salvation Army Camp Ladore, as well as supplied Christmas gifts to hundreds of disadvantaged children so they could experience joy at Christmas. Additionally, Barnett is committed to continually providing an open ear and encouraging words to those touched by The Salvation Army. A member of one family he's helped said, "When I need someone to talk to, I call Dick. After I talk to him, it seems like everything is better."

"I witness miracles every day, simply because The Salvation Army listens to people and offers hope," said Barnett. "The Salvation Army serves as a connection for the economically distressed to a multitude of programs that can make life-changing adjustments to broken lives and spirits."

While just the work mentioned above would exhaust men half Barnett's age, as the Divisional Operations Coordinator for The Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services (EDS) he also coordinates 14 mobile canteen units throughout Eastern Pennsylvania and Delaware, training Salvation Army officers, staff and volunteers to provide meals, drinks and support to disaster victims and first-responders who aid them in the face of tragedies such as fires, floods and hurricanes.

"We are at our best when we are serving others," said Barnett. "I have been richly blessed with good health, a beautiful Christian wife and family, education and, first and foremost, an intimate relationship with the good Lord who walks by my side every day. The Lord has a plan for our lives and I am extremely grateful that following His path led me to The Salvation Army. My affiliation with The Salvation Army has been one of my greatest joys, a journey of faith, a privilege and a never-ending blessing."

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