Church-Goers Bid Farewell to Salvation Army Officers

On Wednesday, the Gulfport Salvation Army will be under new leadership, but Sunday dozens of people gathered at a service to say goodbye to the two officers who have led the Gulfport Salvation Army for the past seven years.

It was seven years and one week ago when Major Darrell Kingsbury first shared a sermon with the congregation at the Gulfport Salvation Army.

This Sunday he delivered his last message there.

"Well, it's mixed feelings. You know as a Salvation Army officer that anytime you go into an appointment that you're going to be leaving that appointment at some time. Normally, we'll stay three to five years," Maj. Kingsbury said.

While in Gulfport, the Kingsburys have formed many precious friendships and have provided a ray of hope for many in need, launching a $2.7 million dollar capital campaign to build up-to-date shelters for the homeless in South Mississippi.

"We've been able to fix up some of the facilities and to paint them. They're still sort of deteriorating faster than we can repair them, and that was the purpose of the capital campaign, to raise funds to put up new modern, expanded facilities that will be able to handle the services we provide in a more efficient and effective manner," Maj. Kingsbury said.

Nearly half of the money for the project has been raised, and Major Kingsbury says he's confident the organization's new leaders will build on the foundation he and his wife have laid.

As for the Kingsburys, they say they're leaving with fond memories of their time in South Mississippi.

"We'll always remember the people. The spirit of love, cooperation, compassion that we've found here," Kingsbury said.

And from the tears shed at their going away service, it looks like the Kingsburys will also be fondly remembered.