One local resident has recently given back to the community in a big way to assist the Oswego Salvation Army Capital Campaign.
The donor, Myron “Jim” Harbison, is an Oswego native who simply wanted to find a way “to give back” to the community where he and his late wife, Mary, were born and raised. He recently contributed $75,000 to the Oswego Salvation Army “I Believe” campaign, moving the organization closer to completing the expansion of their new facility and improving their ability to serve the community.
“I have been very fortunate throughout my life and wanted to do something in my wife’s memory,” Harbison said. “This is all for my wife, and I am very happy to help the Oswego Salvation Army and their mission.”
Harbison served 25 years in the U.S. Navy and also worked 25 years in the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC). During his time in the U.S. Navy, Harbison travelled the world, and while his work at ABC later kept him in Virginia, he and Mary always considered Oswego home. Upon his retirement, the couple moved back to Oswego.
Since returning, Jim has been very active in the Oswego community, especially at the Oswego Elks Lodge, where he volunteers in the kitchen and assists in any way that he can. He has also made several donations to not-for-profit causes, including the BPOE #271, Oswego YMCA, where his wife used to swim, American Red Cross, Oswego High School, and the Oswego County Humane Society.
“I always try to keep busy and give back when I can,” Harbison said. “It’s the least I can do and I’m very happy to help.”
Harbison’s ties to the Oswego Salvation Army actually began as an eight-year old, when the Army invited him to sing with them and “share the lord’s good news” or gospels on the street corners in Oswego.
Harbison’s donation to the Oswego Salvation Army will make a significant impact on the Army’s ability to serve the community at large. The funding will be used towards the construction of a needed kitchen and roof upgrade at the Army’s new building location on West Second Street. Ultimately, Harbison’s gift provides the Army with enough capital in the bank to move forward with a loan to cover the complete renovation.
“You can’t thank someone enough for a gift like this,” said Barbara Bateman, President of the Oswego Salvation Army Advisory Board. “Mr. Harbison is a very generous man and his donation means so much to the Salvation Army and all of the community members it serves.”
Due to the inadequate space at its existing facility, the Army has been using the kitchen and dining room area at St. Mary of Assumption Church in Oswego since January to run its breakfast and lunch program. The Army serves more than 2,500 meals every month, and requires an expanded kitchen facility in order to provide for community members in need.
Harbison’s generosity towards the Army’s mission does not end with his significant donation to the capital campaign, however. As the Army continues to raise funding for its new kitchen, St. Mary’s has promised to offer the use of its facilities until renovations are complete. Upon hearing that it costs the congregation no more than heating and electricity rates to assist the Army, Harbison even made a donation to St. Mary’s to cover the associated costs.
“Mr. Harbison is an extraordinary man and his generosity to the local community is heartfelt and comprehensive,” said Mireille L. Watts, Harbison’s Certified Public Accountant. “His financial contributions and volunteerism will not be forgotten in the Oswego community.”
In fact, Harbison’s donation to the Oswego Salvation Army will include naming rights at the new facility on West Second Street. While the details of the naming opportunity have yet to be determined, the Harbison name will forever appear on or within the building that his generosity helped construct.
Harbison’s donation comes at the half-way point of the Army’s $1.5 million “I Believe” campaign, which is scheduled to run through July 2010. According to Jeff Wallace, a representative of Step One Strategic Giving, an Oswego-based company that specializes in fund development and capital campaigns, and the sister company to marketing firm Step One Creative, Harbison’s $75,000 donation brings campaign contributions to just over the $500,000 mark.
“Mr. Harbison’s direct donation is a tremendous influx into the campaign,” Wallace said. “We are very honored to receive such a significant gift from a single individual in our community. The Army is working hard to be able to expand and upgrade their new facility, and it is the central focus of the campaign.Ã‚Â When the required space is renovated, it will be able to better serve those in need of vital services.”
The Oswego Salvation Army is part of the International Salvation Army organization, which is an evangelical part of the universal Christian Church. The local citadel provides food, education, services and spiritual support to the local community.
For more information on the “I Believe” campaign or to make a contribution please call (315) 216-4161.
Anyone interested in information about programs or serving as a volunteer at the Oswego Salvation Army can please call (315) 343-6491.