"After we learned of the needs of the people there, Karin and I got the supply canteen ready," said Rowe. "We were pumped and ready to go. But then we looked at ourselves and said, 'OK, where's Mercer County?'"
The Rowes soon found a number of people who not only wanted to give the couple directions but also travel with them to provide some help.
"Several people immediately joined us, and off we went to Mercer County to help the people up there," Chuck Rowe said.
The Rowes will be serving in their interim posts until the end of June. At that time the head of the Kentucky-Tennessee Division of the army will place a couple to serve as permanent commanders of the local army.
During the next few months, the Rowes' main goal will be to "keep the army here moving forward," said Chuck Rowe.
"Zachary and Shelley left behind a good staff of some 20 part- and full-time people, numerous dedicated volunteers and a very proactive advisory board. They also left a legacy of expanding services and programs that reach hundreds of people in this area, and we want to keep that legacy alive."
"We are really happy and excited to be here, even if it will be for just a short time," said Karin Rowe. "We just want to make sure we keep the momentum that Zachary and Shelley set in motion going."
Generations of involvement
The Rowes, who have been married four years, both come from long lines of Salvationists, dating back at least six generations. Chuck Rowe, a native of New Jersey, has been involved in overseeing youth programs in various army assignments around the country, and Karin Rowe, a native of Chicago, has been involved in directing music programs in hers.
But the Danville assignment is not Karin Rowe's first experience in Kentucky.
She is graduate of Asbury College, where she got to know Shelley Bell when she was a student there. Chuck Rowe is a graduate of Hartnell College in California.
"Karin and I have both spent most of our lives in big cities, and Danville is the smallest town we have lived in," said Chuck Rowe.
"But when people here ask us how we city people have been able to deal with small-town life, I just say, the biggest cities and the smallest towns have the same thing in common. They're both made up of people with many of the same needs."
The Rowes believe their assignment to Danville was both divinely inspired and fortuitous for them.
"I really feel this is where God meant us to be at this time in our ministries," said Karin Rowe.
"And it's not a bad thing that he chose a place where they celebrate brass band music once a year," said Chuck Rowe. "Karin and I both have directed brass bands with the army and we cannot wait for mid-June when the Great American Brass Band Festival will be held. They always have a Salvation Army band, and we're especially looking forward to that."
"The festival will come toward the end of our stay here, and I'm sure we will look upon it as a wonderful way to celebrate a kind of music we have both loved for a long time and say farewell to a town we have loved for a short time but will always remember," Karin Rowe said.