New Area Officers
The new officers for Shelby County and our Birmingham locations are now in place. Captains Bill & Jani Criss will be responsible for duties in Birmingham at the “614″ Corp, while Lieutenant’s Brian & Jamie Leonard will take the reins at the Alabaster Corp representing Shelby and Chilton Counties. To view “hello’s” from the new officers click here.
The Criss’s come to us from their last post in Dothan, Alabama. Like many officers, Capt. Bill & Capt. Jani grew up with a lot of Salvation Army influence in their lives. That led them both down paths of service and a wanting to help, Bill as a minister, Jani as a nurse. They met in college and quickly married. “I told a guy that night after our first date that she would be my wife,” Capt. Bill told us. After many years of pastoring, they were led to a local Salvation Army’s church service. “We felt like we had come home,” Capt. Jani said. One afternoon they both realized simultaneously their calling was to The Salvation Army. Capt. Jani had just established roots as a nurse and was tough to leave something she loved very much, but they both knew it was time. They became ordained in 2001 and were first appointed to the D.C. area in Maryland. They experienced a lot in short period of time, including being first responders to the 9-11 attacks at The Pentagon, dealing with the DC sniper and it’s aftermath, and weather events that struck the area. Our “614″ here in Birmingham is a little different from some of the other places they have been, but they actually have a daughter and son-in-law that are trained in “614″ work so they have the inside scoop. “Each appointment requires something different,” Capt. Bill says. “So whatever this corp needs us to be, we will.” The Criss’s want to offer a home for those that need it. “Warmth, exceptence and welcome,” Capt Jani says. “That’s what I want people to feel, like they are our family, because they are.” Stay tuned soon for an in-depth look at their experiences in Maryland and the DC area.
The Leonard’s also were influenced early in life by The salvation Army. “I was excited and scared when I felt the call to serve.” Lt. Brian Leonard knew at age 14 he was going to be a Salvationist following in his parents and grandparents footsteps. He was excited to know he had a path, but scared not knowing what lie ahead. After high school Brian worked with the Salvation Army, their youth program and helped with disaster work, notably in 2004 after Hurricane Katrina hit the coastal region. Jamie too, had felt the calling at the early age of 12. “I always knew I’d be a Salvation Army officer,” Jamie told us. Her journey led her to mission work and eventually Vancouver. Jamie and Brian had met in their teens, but it was in their adulthood that they connected and got married, became officers together and now they join the Birmingham Area Command. This is their first post but they are looking forward to serving the Shelby and Chilton County communities and those God has put before them.