‘Army’ mission in director’s blood PDF Print E-mail
Written by ALEX ASPACHER Sentinel Staff Writer   
Thursday, 29 August 2013 10:23
Tracy Knappins, new Salvation Army service director. (Photo: J.D. Pooley/Sentinel-Tribune)
For Tracy Knappins, the Salvation Army's mission of helping others is in her blood.
A third-generation Salvation Army worker, Knappins returned to the fold last month, taking on an expansion of the position held by the Rev. Bob Barr for more than a decade until his retirement.
As director of the Bowling Green service center, she not only wants to promote the services available for those in need during a time crisis, but forge relationships with other organizations with similar goals.
After growing up in New York, Knappins moved to northwest Ohio at age 17 when her parents were reassigned to the Salvation Army in Toledo. She said she felt compelled to take up the family campaign after a stint as a hairdresser.
"I think when you're raised around the mission and the work of the Salvation Army, it kind of becomes part of who you are," said Knappins, who has two brothers, one of whom also works for a charitable organization. 
"I always joke around that our family is a nonprofit family. I think we were raised with that giving spirit, so it becomes part of who you are. You want to reach out."
Knappins, who has nearly 20 years of experience within Salvation Army, started working as an office assistant after high school. She trained at the organization's school in New York before working for two years as a Salvation Army pastor.
Afterward, Knappins organized activities such as after-school tutoring and mentoring at two Toledo locations and another in North Baltimore. After moving into development, working toward fundraising and putting together events for about seven years, she followed that field to another nonprofit group, this one in education.
Knappins' Salvation Army homecoming brings with it the challenges of learning a new community, one with which she has minimal experience, from when she once served as a liaison to the BG group from Toledo.
Her philosophy and the one guiding the local office is to not just give a "hand-out," but a "hand-up."
That means opting to give temporary assistance with rent, utilities and other needs, as well as helping individuals "better themselves for the long run, not just for that crisis moment" in order to change the circumstances that led to their hardship.
Knappins said the group just recently provided back-to-school supplies in backpacks for 264 children, well more than last year's total of 189. With that program in the books, eyes turn toward organizing the holiday kettle drive this winter.
BG's Salvation Army service center is located at 1045 N. Main St. and can be reached at 419-352-5918.
Last Updated on Thursday, 29 August 2013 10:33

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