Each year, the Shawnee Salvation Army gathers its fellow mission-minded workers, volunteers and neighbors for an evening of celebration and to offer thanks and appreciation for a job well done.

Each year, the Shawnee Salvation Army gathers its fellow mission-minded workers, volunteers and neighbors for an evening of celebration and to offer thanks and appreciation for a job well done.

This year, Tuesday was that night.

Shawnee Salvation Army Capt. Russell Clay noted, “as we in the Army say, 'We have an army behind The Army,' we would like to recognize and honor some of them for the excellence they have shown this past year through many volunteer hours, excessive hours in a warehouse during holidays, standing at Kettle stands ringing those bells, serving countless meals in our Soup Kitchen and giving weekly donations all throughout the year to help assist us in feeding those in need.”

Clay said the local Salvation Army would not be able to complete its mission without the help of its many volunteers and partners.

The highlight of the evening included honoring the winner with the special distinction of being a friend of youth.

The Don Bodard Friend of Youth Award was established in 1998.

“For the past 20 years we have honored leaders who have made a difference in the lives of young people,” Clay said. “It was named in honor of the late Don Bodard, who was a longtime supporter of The Salvation Army, as well as other youth programs in Shawnee, along with his wife, Nancy.”

The Bodards have been very concerned about the Boys & Girls Club and its effect on youth in our community, he said.

“Mr. Bodard had a special commitment to the youth of this community, and it was his desire that our youth, especially those in at-risk situations, would have a safe place to play after school and receive wholesome values as they grow up,” Clay said. “It was natural to name this award after him.”

The Avedis Foundation was named the recipient of the 2017 The Salvation Army Don Bodard Friend of Youth Award.