Bluefield Salvation Army

BLUEFIELD — Salvation Army units serving the cities of Bluefield and Princeton have been merged to create a countywide Salvation Army which also serves three other southern West Virginia counties and one county in Southwest Virginia.

Lt. Dennis Smith, who was head of the Princeton Salvation Army, said Friday that there had been talk locally about the Salvation Army closing its Bluefield facility, but this is not the case; instead, the Bluefield Salvation Army is being absorbed into the Princeton Salvation Army. The facility off of Bluefield Avenue will remain open.

“There are strategic reasons for it because we’re actually so close and between the two, we serve five counties: Mercer, Monroe, Summers, McDowell, and Tazewell in Virginia,” Smith said. “It’s just that financially, we can better effectively do it under one command. Our social services will continue in the current Bluefield building, but our church services and church programs will move to Princeton.”

Bluefield residents who attended the local Salvation Army’s church services can go to the services in Princeton, Smith stated.

“They just need to call our office to ask us to come and pick them up,” he said. “We’d be happy to pick them up.”

The merged Salvation Army units are now one organization.

“We’re changing it from the Salvation Army of Princeton, W.Va. and the Salvation Army of Bluefield, W.Va. officially to the Salvation Army of Mercer County and serving those other counties,” Smith said. “There’s going to be some minor changes that pop up here and there in both buildings. We don’t want to change things right away.”

Fundraising will be conducted for one organization instead of two, and both the Bluefield and Princeton facilities will be under the command of one Salvation Army officer, he said.

“Now we have eliminated one salary,” Smith said. “We will use that money to put back into the community.”

The Bluefield Salvation Army facility has two employees, a custodian and a social worker, he stated. In Princeton, there is a social worker and a bookkeeper, and a custodian is being sought.

Contact Greg Jordan at gjordan@bdtonline.com