The Salvation Army‘s presence began 125 years ago in downtown Phoenix at the Road to Ruin Saloon. On May 17 at the Arizona Biltmore, the community celebrated the anniversary at the “Road to Heaven.” The evening was chaired by Kay and Bill Shover, with Jerry Colangelo serving as the honorary chair. More than 700 guests – most in western attire – attended the event, which raised approximately $500,000 to benefit the Army’s social services in the Southwest Division.
The dinner opened with a production by Phoenix Theatre actors that highlighted details of Arizona’s history. Colonel Doug Riley, chief secretary of The Salvation Army Western Territory, and Marlene Klotz-Collins, who serves on The Salvation Army National and Metro Phoenix Advisory boards, presented “Did You Know?” sharing fun, lesser known facts about the Army.
The celebration highlighted all things Army. White House Design Studio created charming centerpieces of sunflowers in red kettles, and the program cover featured the Road to Ruin Saloon. Guests were served bottles of root beer at their tables, and waiters surprised them with trays of freshly baked donuts – a treat such as the Army’s Donut Lassies served to soldiers during World War I.
Metro Phoenix advisory board chair Jeff Taylor closed the dinner with his moving account of how the Army helped him break out of homelessness and addiction.
PHOTOS BY DAVE SEIBERT