GALVESTON — Harvey and Ann Johnson have moved 14 times in the past 30 years, helping Salvation Army agencies restructure educational programs and drum up funds for new projects and buildings.
As the new majors at The Salvation Army in Galveston, the couple will oversee construction of a new home for the organization on 51st Street.
"It’s a little different for us this time because we’re on the other side now," Ann Johnson said. "We never get to see the finished product. This time, we get to buy furniture and decorations for the new location. We’ll get to see it through."
The Johnsons moved to Galveston in June, six weeks after receiving a call detailing the assignment. The couple has lived in cities such as Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Abilene and Texarkana. Most recently, the Johnsons lived in Little Rock, Ark.
"One of the most exciting things for me is that we’re here at the right time," Harvey Johnson said. "With Hurricane Ike behind us, people are asking, "What can we do to make things better?’ The focus is not so much looking back, but looking forward."
The new building is slated to open in June, but funds are short more than $900,000 of the goal to build the facility, which will cost nearly $7 million to construct.
At 60,000 square feet, the building will boast family rooms, living spaces and a new thrift store. Next week, the foundation and plumbing will be installed.
The faith-based social services agency is meeting with advisory councils to brainstorm ideas to find building dollars.
Dallas native Ann Johnson started attending The Salvation Army services when she was 10, while Harvey Johnson, who is from Baltimore, Md., was raised in the church.
The two met at The Salvation Army Evangeline Booth College in Atlanta and married in 1977.
"Not only is The Salvation Army in 121 countries and 140 years old, but it’s also a hub for romance," Harvey Johnson said, laughing.
Ann Johnson said working for The Salvation Army is a calling, one both she and her husband were eager to join.
"There is something in feeling that your life makes a difference," Harvey Johnson said. "We’re able to tell people their life counts and these people who are often overlooked and forgotten, that they matter to somebody. They matter to God. Now, how many people get to do that for a living?"
This story was brought to you thanks to khou.com’s partnership with The Galveston County Daily News.