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Majors Norman and Claire Grainger 2004-2014

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     Majors Norman and Claire Grainger

     Majors Norman and Claire Grainger are true examples of what it means to ‘fully live your life's purpose and live that purpose together'.

     "My wife and I look forward to making new friends, strengthening the work of the Army and sharing God's ministry with you," Major Norman Grainger said ten years ago of his then new appointment to the Springfield Corps.

    Since then, the Grainger's have not just changed countless lives physically, they have also and perhaps most importantly, changed many lives spiritually. Their dedication to serving the Lord by way of serving others is as inspirational as it is powerful.

    "We believe that God has a plan for our lives as His word says ‘For I know the plans I have for you' declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future' (Jeramiah 29:11) and that His will is that we serve the people of Springfield through the ministry of The Salvation Army.

     They have quite literally ventured a long way to bless the Springfield community in their service to others. Both originally from England, Major Norman Grainger from Middlesbrough and Major Claire Grainger from Gateshead, the two met and then married on November 26, 1977. Eight years later, in 1985, while working in the Bahamas the Graingers discovered The Salvation Army through volunteering for the summer day camp program. They then joined the church and became Corps Soldiers.

     "We felt called by God to become officers," Grainger said of their decision to attend the Ambassador for Christ Session at the Officers Training College in Chicago from 1987 to 1989.

     Since their ordination, the Graingers have also served in Corps' and social service appointments in Indianapolis, Ind., the Caribbean island of Jamaica, Des Moines, Iowa, Sheboygan, Wis., and Maplewood, Mo.

     Upon arriving in Springfield in 2004 Grainger said "we are excited to be here and pledge to serve you, with God's help as we all work together to meet the needs of ‘the least of these brothers of mine' (Matthew 25:40)."

      In May of 2014, the Grainger's received what The Salvation Army call ‘farewell orders' and were reassigned to appointments with the Western Michigan/Northern Indiana Divisional Headquarters in Grand Rapids, Mich.

     "My wife and I have been here for ten years and we've been very privileged to serve the community for ten years," Grainger said of the reappointment.

     In their new appointments, Major Norman will serve as WMNI Divisional Secretary, Kent County MI Coordinator, and Men's Ministry Secretary. Major Claire will serve as Divisional Secretary for Program, Community Care Ministries Secretary, and Moral and Ethical Issues Secretary.

     Their journey so far has prepared them well for the journey ahead. The Graingers have been instrumental in developing and guiding a number of programs that have positively impacted the Springfield community, and in many cases saved lives. This is none more true than when it comes to the Extreme Emergency Cold Weather Shelter, which provides safe and warm shelter for those who otherwise might succumb to the elements. The shelter's origins, true to the Grainger's mission, came about following the tragic death of several homeless individuals. Major Grainger representing The Salvation Army met with representatives from local service providers such as The Kitchen, Inc., Victory Mission, the City of Springfield and the Springfield Police Department.

     Together, Grainger said, the group asked "What can we do for people who are choosing to sleep out because they've got nowhere else to go?"

     During the winter of 2007-2008, the shelter's first year of operation, 101 individuals were served and saved by the EECWS. Last year, during the 2013-2014 winter season, 509 individuals were served and saved by receiving nearly 4,000 nights of shelter, as well as nearly 4,000 nutritious meals and access to social service assistance.

     Another memorable moment during the winter of 2007, was a crippling ice storm. Major Grainger said he distinctly remembers the moment the community lost power.

     "Our daughter was in town and was getting ready to do laundry," he said. "In that moment we went into emergency mode."

     The Graingers made their way to the Corps building and set-up emergency generators. By the end of the day and for the next two weeks approximately two hundred residents, from all walks of life, stayed at the Springfield Corps for shelter. Amidst the destructive and dreadful storm, Grainger recalls, many people who might never have needed The Salvation Army coming together with those in great need of The Salvation Army all under one roof.

    "That's definitely something I'm going to take away from my time here in Springfield," Grainger said. "Whenever there is a need in the community and The Salvation Army feels like it can meet that need, we turn to the community and the community gives us support."

     In turn, Major Claire Grainger said her fondest memories are those that demonstrate the impact The Salvation Army has had on the community.

     "We've seen people make different choices because The Salvation Army has impacted them and that's encouraging," she said.

     Both agree that the move will not be easy. "We've just gotten to know so many people in so many different areas," Major Claire Grainger said. "It's not just the church. It's the agencies and even just the people in the community."

      However, the decision to stay or move on is, of course, not up to them.

      "We now go through the emotional roller coaster of letting go. We've got to let go," Major Grainger said. "You can't move on and forget. This will be with us until our dying day."

      Majors Mike and Judy Mills with the Officers Training College in Chicago will begin serving as the Springfield Corps Officers on June 24, 2014.


Majors Norman and Claire Grainger

Major Norman Grainger Major Claire Grainger 

Major Norman Grainger

Major Norman Grainger

Majors Norman and Claire Grainger

Majors Norman and Claire Grainger


(Written by Audrey Esther using information provided by the Community Free Press and KY3 News.)


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