Fort Riley might be better-known for changes of command than the Salvation Army, but they’re not unheard of at the local charitable entity either. Majors Jerry and Nancy Curttright are the new Salvation Army heads here, having come to Manhattan after a brief retirement in the summer of 2010. Before that, they had served with the Salvation Army since 1989 in several states including Illinois, Indiana and Minnesota.
An unlikely source, a phone call from the local branch of the Salvation Army in central Illinois, lead them to serve. The two were in the sheet metal business at the time and didn’t even realize the Salvation Army was a church, but they were asked to help preach and soon realized it was their calling.
“It was an easy transition, very smooth,” Jerry Curttright said. “We felt we’ve been in the Lord’s will up until this time.”
Curttright said serving with the Salvation Army resulted in a lot of opportunities they wouldn’t have had otherwise. “Just serving people,” Curttright said, is the big reward. “It just gives us the opportunity to be with people.”
In 1996, the Curttrights got the call to go to Minneapolis, the first big city they had served. Curttright said it was the first time they dealt with pimps and prostitutes who were in need of guidance.
“We just learned so much,” Curttright said. “We have been forever thankful for that.”
Curttright is glad he was able to make a positive impact.
“A lot of people are off the street today,” Curttright said. “Our whole message in the Salvation Army is Jesus loves you.”
They served for eight years in Minneapolis before getting the call to relocate to Indiana. Some people might find moving from place to place difficult, but not the Curttrights. They knew what they were getting into when they joined the Salvation Army and believe the Salvation Army headquarters is under the direction of God.
That being said, they didn’t know whole lot about Manhattan before relocating several weeks ago. Curttright says K-State was one of the few things they knew about the community because he and his wife are sports fans.
So far, they have found the community extremely hospitable. Curttright said Manhattan has a “home-town feel” even though it has 50,000 people.
“Everybody has been so friendly and so unusually welcoming,” Curttright said. “We feel like we’re welcome.”
Curttright said they are also fortunate to part of the downtown district.
“The downtown just seems so vibrant,” Curttright said. “It just seems like everything is very prosperous, things are on the go.”
He is ready to get back to what he loves.
“One of the things I really missed was preaching every week,” Curttright said.
The Salvation Army holds Sunday school and adult small group at 10 a.m. and a worship service at 11 a.m. each Sunday.