Salvation Army honors the late David Birney

April 02, 2004|LIZ MAPLES

Applause was replaced by the ringing of bells at the annual Salvation Army banquet Thursday. The clinging was a tribute to those who have helped with time, energy or love to the organization's self-proclaimed mission of hope.

The bells were forgotten, however, for a standing ovation when a posthumous award was given to David Birney, a past chair of the advisory board who died this past year. The Danville post created a David Bell Birney Spirit Award in his honor, and made him the first recipient. His wife, Ginny, and son, Rob, accepted the award.

"This is his Oscar," Ginny Birney said with a voice full of tears.

She thanked all the people who had given memorials to the Salvation Army in the Episcopalian bishop's honor.

"We will always be thinking of David," said Capt. Zachary Bell.

Future award recipients names will be engraved on a plaque that will hang in the building.


John Edwards, an inspirational speaker and Salvation Army director of disaster information and development, came from the North/South Carolina division to talk to the group about the legacy they will leave on Earth.

"When's the last time you saw a U-Haul towed behind a hearse?" he said. "If there are any fundraisers in the room, don't get excited. This isn't a speech about planned giving."

Using the talents God gives you

Edwards pitched the idea that it is those who serve others, who use what talents God gave them wisely that will leave true legacies.

He said that everyone who does something, no matter how small, has contributed to the wider mission of the organization.

"My guess is that you didn't get involved with the Salvation Army because there is a dinner in April."

The people there had responded to their "God-assignment to serve," he said.

The Danville post gave out seven awards to businesses and groups for their support in 2003. Recipients were The Advocate-Messenger, Centre College, Kiwanis, Presbyterian Church of Danville, Rotary Club of Danville and Symbiotix.

The organization provides after school and weekend programs for youth, sponsors children's trips to camp, collects money to buy food and presents for Christmas, holds church services, defrays rent and electricity costs and operates a thrift shop.

The Salvation Army raised $536,168 in 2003 and helped 2,156 people.

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