Salvation Army Corps welcomes new leadership

Published 8:00 am Monday, April 1, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

By James W. Robinson
Staff Writer

Suffolk is welcoming new leaders of the city’s Salvation Army Corps. Following Capts. Kelsey and Johnathan Meredith, Corps Administrators Adrian and Karen Twinney now serve as officers for Suffolk, which includes the city of Franklin and Isle of Wight, Southampton and Surry counties. The Twinneys bring approximately 20 years of Salvation Army service to Suffolk with experience in capital campaigns, fundraising, directing shelters and serving as pastors.

With their arrival, Karen Twinney talked about what they aim to offer to the community.

“I feel like what we can bring to Suffolk is that we have the experience to know what the groundwork for Salvation Army should look like, but we also have the learning experience of what a good community is and to keep Salvation Army kind of in the community and not necessarily itself,” she said.

Adrian Twinney followed, saying their love of Christ ultimately motivates them in their work.

“If you look at the two greatest commandments, we are challenged to love God with all of our ability, and then the second thing is to have compassion and justice for all, both social justice and spiritual justice for all. So that’s what motivates us,” he said.

Adrian Twinney says he and Karen wish to take the Suffolk Salvation Army to the “next notch.” Calling the community center and gym a blessing, Adrian says they want to make it a “greater blessing” to the local community with larger after-school programs, basketball tournaments, and small conferences. Twinney also discussed bringing in the Silver Sneaker fitness program for older adults.

“We know from scientific evidence that the more active work seniors can [do], the more meaningful life is to them,” he said. “At the same time, we’ve got the church programs because at the end of the day, the Salvation Army is a church… It’s very much at the core of what we do. And we want to see justice come to all people regardless of gender, regardless of color, regardless of ability. And so that’s what we want to strive for.”

Likewise, both expressed their desire to “come together” with other local partners and organizations to continue their mission of helping people in need. Noting how important it united together through collaboration, Adrian Twinney reflected on their time in Middlesboro, Kentucky, when a flood came through the city on June 20, 2011.

“We’re just a small denomination, and yet, we came together with others and they came and supported us… but as a city, through collaboration, we got through it. And the Salvation Army was awarded the Humanitarian Award for service onto the community at Bell County, Kentucky,” he said. “By working together, we can help some of the needs that standing alone we cannot. So, we welcome others to approach us and I hope that others will welcome us approaching them.”

Karen Twinney also detailed one of their upcoming events. In recognition of National Salvation Army Week, which will occur May 12 through 18, the Suffolk Salvation Army will be holding its Seats and Feets Drive, which is aimed at providing donations of socks and underwear for children. The three-week drive will start on April 28 and run through National Salvation Army week. Donations will be accepted at the Suffolk Salvation Army’s location at 400 Bank Street.

“It gives [people] an opportunity to feel like they’re doing something that will help kids coming into school,” she said.

Karen Twinney also discussed plans for an “End of Summer Community Fun Day” where Suffolk Salvation Army will distribute Seats and Feets Drive donations to families for their children ages 14 and under. Likewise, they are looking for nonprofit organizations supporting children to take part in the event to distribute information about their organizations to attending families. Finally, the Twinneys sent a message to the Suffolk, Franklin, Isle of Wight, Surry, and Southampton communities. Adrian Twinney says he wants the Suffolk Corps to be a “brighter light within the community.”

“That God loves each one of us, regardless of our way, and to reach the unreached for Christ in both the spiritual way and the physical way,” he said. “We study the word and devotions privately, but as a wider community, we worship God, who motivates us by what he has already done for us to have compassion and to fight for justice, both spiritual and social, for others.”

Likewise, Karen Twinney expressed the desire for the Suffolk Salvation Army to be seen as more than just giving out toys and ringing bells.

“This gym is amazing. It was built for the community. That’s what we’re trying to get back to,” Twinney said.

For more information, go to and