WARREN - Just into their new positions as the captains of the Trumbull County Salvation Army, Michael and Dianna Morales already were very involved Friday with the annual summer picnic and giveaway hosted by the organization's Ladies Auxiliary.
Capt. Dianna Morales, who was helping to serve food to those who attended the picnic, said she and Michael started in late June at the Warren location, coming from a Salvation Army in Norwalk, near Sandusky, where they served for the past four years.
The Moraleses replace Capts. Charles and Misty Coffelt, who served four years in Warren before leaving last month.
Donovan DeMarco assists Terry Slaughter, 7, in selecting a toy at the Salvation Army’s annual summer picnic in Warren hosted by the Ladies Auxiliary. Children received a free lunch and then were able to get a toy, snacks and health and hygiene items from the auxiliary.
Tribune Chronicle photos / Bob Coupland
''A lot depends on how long the Salvation Army needs you to stay at different places or if they need you somewhere else because of your skills. At many places, four or five years is often the norm. We were at our first Salvation Army in Kentucky for eight years, so it all depends,'' she said.
Dianna said she grew up at the Salvation Army in New Mexico when her dad was in the Air Force, and met Michael, who is from Cincinnati, at the Salvation Army's summer camp where they both worked.
''Being an officer is a calling from God. We are both ordained ministers,'' she said.
Michael was attending college when he became involved with the Salvation Army.
The Moraleses will handle day-to-day operations, fundraising and programs at the Salvation Army.
''We want to be here to reach out to those in the community with our programs and services done in the name of Christ,'' she said.
Since they began, the Moraleses have met with the Salvation Army's advisory board to look over current programs and services.
The Moraleses said Warren area is march larger than the Norwalk area, which has a population of 16,000.
''The programs offered here are much the same, it's just more people,'' Dianna Morales said.
''We will get a feel for the community and see what services might be needed and see how things are running now and if they may need to be revamped or changed. If it isn't broken, there may be no reason to fix it,'' she said.
Kadie Bowen, president of the Ladies Auxiliary, said it was nice to have the captains for the annual summer picnic, which included providing a free lunch for those who attend programs at the Salvation Army.
''This is the eighth set of people I have worked with at the Salvation Army. There seems to be a change every four to five years,'' Bowen said.
She said after meeting the Moraleses, she sees them ''bringing a lot of energy into the Salvation Army and being very public and involved out in the community.''
Bowen said in addition to providing the meal, the auxiliary also gave adults a bag filled with health and hygiene items, and children a toy, cereal and snack food.