Helping people find hope: Cameron County Salvation Army welcomes new officers

Pastors Benjamin and Wendy Deuel for the past 11 years have been seving communities throughout the country as Salvation Army commanding officers. Now they have come to Harlingen as Cameron County Salvation Army's new officers. (Maricela Rodriguez/Valley Morning Star)

HARLINGEN — When someone is in need, pastors Benjamin and Wendy Deuel always make sure to look for a way to try and help them.

For the past 11 years, they have been serving communities throughout the country as Salvation Army commanding officers.

Their devoted service to others has now brought them to Harlingen as Cameron County Salvation Army’s new officers.

“We’re new to the area and we’re excited about continuing on that ministry here in Harlingen and Cameron County,” Benjamin said. “We’re really excited about what the Lord’s going to do and how he’s going to use this.”

Benjamin and Wendy moved to the Valley about a week ago from Florence, Alabama.

“Monday was our first day in the office so we’re finding out a lot about where we stand and trying to figure out what are the exact needs of the community,” Benjamin said. “We don’t know the community very well at this point, but we’re looking forward to getting to know it and its needs and figuring out the best way to serve.”

Benjamin and Wendy grew up being involved with the Salvation Army.

“I grew up in the Salvation Army in the United States,” Benjamin said. “I do a lot of social services. I worked a lot with the homeless population, drug-addicted population and grew up learning how to meet people’s needs and be there for people.”

Wendy was raised in Mexico. Her parents were Salvation Army officers there for 35 years. They carried on a ministry and oversaw children’s homes for orphans.

“When I came to the United States, I came through McAllen and I served in that community as a missionary,” Wendy said. “I came to serve the Hispanic community so now I’m coming back to the Valley after almost 12 years to serve the community.”

Benjamin and Wendy said they’ve been brainstorming ways they can give back to the community.

The couple plans to jump start a shoe program that took a pause when the pandemic began.

There are also plans to incorporate character building programs for young people of school age.

Benjamin said the couple is also planning a vacation Bible school that aims to help students get into a positive place and have some fun before they return to school.

Additionally, financial assistance will continue and a backpack giveaway with school supplies is going to be planned for August.

“Those are just a couple of things we have planned over the next couple of months,” Benjamin said. “As we access the needs of the community and talk to different people, different things may come up and we’ll look into addressing those needs in the near future.”

Benjamin said the Salvation Army’s mission to meet human needs without discrimination is very personal to him and Wendy.

“We preach the gospel, but more important than preaching is we live it out,” Benjamin said. “We not only tell people that the Lord loves them, but we show them by the way that we live and the way we conduct ourselves. Our desire is to help people find hope.”