Hey, this is Chris Benjamin, the producer for Words of Life. And before we jump into our next series, we wanted to share a really cool interview we had a little while back. In this episode, Bernie Dake is going to be interviewing Ron Day. Ron is the development director for the Salvation Army in Knoxville, Tennessee, but he's also the host of a local radio show there that highlights the work the Salvation Army is doing in that community. This interview is also really special to us because today we're officially announcing that we've brought on Behind the Shield as a podcast available through the Soundcast Network. So to learn more and start listening, visit salvationarmysoundcast.org slash BTS. Welcome to the Salvation Army's Behind the Shield. I am your host Ron Day.
And I truly hope that your week is off to a great start. Our culture socially got kind of mixed up when we turned the camera around. We used to take pictures of things and all of a sudden at the time was coaching at Marcial College. We have a great show lined up for you today. So without further ado, let's get started with this episode of the Salvation Army's Behind the Shield right now. Welcome back, everybody.
I'm Bernie Dake with the Salvation Army's Words of Life. And today I'm joined by none other than Mr. Ron Day. Well, welcome, Ron. Thank you. Thank you for that intro. Wow. Mr. Ron Day.
That's right. Well, you know, Ron is an employee of the Salvation Army in Knoxville, Tennessee, but also the host of a local radio program that talks about the work of the Salvation Army in Knoxville. And we thought it'd be great to have you here so you could tell our listeners about what's going on and maybe we could even tell them a little bit about your story.
Yeah. Well, regarding the show, it kind of just happened. I have radio contacts from my previous career. And so through those, I was just seeking to get us some spots on air locally.
And next thing I know, the fellow that I used to work with, he says, hey, how would you guys like to have your own show slot? And I said, yes. And I knew nothing else about it.
That's all I knew. And so they very quickly said, we need to move fast. What are you going to call the show? I was like, well, that's great. I haven't had any time to think about it. So I just chose to go with Behind the Shield because I wanted it to be educational for the public. I want it because the people in our area, they love us. They love the Salvation Army and they know we help people, but they don't really know much else. They don't know why they love us so much. So the goal was to teach people what we do, who we are, why we do it, and invite them, every episode, invite them to come alongside us.
Literally to see what's going on behind that iconic red shield that is the Salvation Army. Well, so you had a background in radio. Did you, were you a host? Were you a salesperson?
What did you do? Well, not a salesperson. No, I did do some hosting. My first job was with a live and local station in Knoxville called Love 89. David Wells was the general manager there. And we had, we had a great team there, but it was, it was non-com radio.
So everybody wore different hats, did a lot of different things. I was the business administrator, donor development, but I also hosted a radio show on the weekends and I just fell in love with radio broadcast and just enjoyed doing it. And so I made the most of it. And with that, I spent three and a half to four years there and even launched a second non-com Christian radio station while we were there called Life 88. And after those three and a half years, the parent company of K-Love and Air One EMF Broadcasting, they purchased those stations. And after a couple of months, they offered me a position in promotions, concert promotions and things. So I loved radio so much, I just jumped at the chance to go to work for them and had a 10-year career with them, with K-Love and Air One and wound up in the pastoral care department. And so I was in a number of different positions in radio and Christian radio.
And so, but my love for it just continued to grow. Yeah. How do you get to the Salvation Army? How do you learn about the Salvation Army? What attracts you to our little organization? Well, I can tell you at first I was much like the rest of the public who know of the Salvation Army.
They see the red kettles, they see the shield and let know that they help people, but that was about the extent of it. My last five years with K-Love, I spent with the pastoral care department. Pastoral care was also with crisis response care.
And so we traveled every other week to a different city, helping to facilitate trainings for first and secondary responders in critical incident stress management. During that, we used Salvation Army facilities many times for those classes. And so I became a little more familiar with Salvation Army, never any clue I would ever be working for the Salvation Army. And then after about 10 years, I did, I found myself in a place where I did not have the relationship with Christ that I had before and that I should have.
Found myself drinking alcohol to self-medicate, covered depression, suffered a divorce, and it came time I needed to step out of what I was doing. And so God placed me with a technology company, still in broadcast media, but different, not faith-based. And I spent a year and a half to two years with them. But then through a God connection, someone asked me, hey, have you ever thought about working for the Salvation Army? And it was actually the gentleman who gave me my first job in radio. He was the gentleman that, a good friend, David Wells, who asked me about that. I said, well, not really, but I'm open to it. And a recruiter had been trying to recruit him for a position. He said, I'm not interested, but I'd love to give them your name. And I said, I'd love for you to do that too. So that's how that happened.
I was hired as the business administrator in Knoxville by Major Cam Henderson. I love that. And wherever David Wells is, I thank him for at least thinking of you when it came to us, because you're doing great work there. Yeah. Well, I like to think so.
Yeah. So God is in the restoration business. And I tell people that all the time. Mine is a story of having gradually found myself in a place where I felt lost and then found once again and restored and redeemed. And don't ever think you're too far gone. God is still there.
He's still waiting. I'm blown away by God's grace and mercy. Because to be sitting here with you now, not something I would have thought a few years ago. And so I'm grateful for the opportunity to be working for the Salvation Army. We are doing great work in Knoxville. A lot of families and a lot of folks are getting help. And I hope that I'm able to be a part of the success of that. Hey, since you're new to the Salvation Army, in a sense, having come to work for us from a different organization, different background altogether, what would you say are some of the success stories that you're seeing?
What do we do well in communities that make people really just love who we are now? Well, I would have to say most of that I've seen demonstrated by our area commander, Major Henderson. We had a moment under there. It's called the Knoxville Bridge, but it's actually I-40. And it's an overpass where our facility is located in Knoxville. There was a moment we had a tent city, what people called it a lot of times where the homeless community were in tents.
It was on federal property, on railroad property. So the government came through, wanted all of that cleared out. Salvation Army was there for them. We took our canteen down. We offered snacks and coffee and water for those that were being displaced once again, and just to offer some sort of comfort.
But I saw my boss walking down the sidewalk, kneeling in full dress uniform, kneeling with folks, praying with them, holding their hands, getting their stories, listening to them. And that was more of an education for me, I think, on the Salvation Army than anything else, just to see that's the heart of the Salvation Army. And what we do, I think, best is providing that hope. We are part of the long-term solution, I believe, with our programs, because we take people, it's not just an emergency shelter. We take people from a homeless situation and we put them through a program where they meet milestones and we help them do that. And then once they do that, we're able to help place them in the home of their own. And then we provide some case management after that to make sure that they're sustainable on their own. And being part of that long-term solution, that's so important because we see the homeless community continue to grow, unfortunately, every year.
And I think having programs in place as we do and being a part of that, I think it's vital to the success. As you serve as a development director, most of us would think of that as like the principal fundraiser for the Salvation Army. What would you say are some of the challenges or some of the opportunities that exist in Knoxville for people to come alongside the organization and help us? In Knoxville, we have a tradition for volunteering. In Tennessee, as a whole, I mean, that's kind of our thing. Volunteer state. For volunteer state.
And so we see that happening every day. Local business owners, business leaders are very happy, many of whom are part of our board in Knoxville. They're willing to step up and be a part of that. And so part of what I do is I focus some on our corporate relationships there locally. And as I said, many of them are already part of the solution with the Salvation Army.
But part of my job is to keep cultivating more. And so I think that's going to be one of the larger things as far as opportunities, is gaining those folks confidence that they can trust the Salvation Army with their support. Because I think that's unfortunately, there have been other organizations in the past who have demonstrated poorly the use of those resources.
And so but the Salvation Army has a track record of being faithful to using those resources that are given to us regardless of what they are, not just monetary, but other resources as well with marketing resources and so forth. Let's talk about what's next. What's the hope for Behind the Shield and the work that you're doing there? Well, what I hope is that this will become a podcast because we want to make it available to a larger audience.
It airs locally in Knoxville right now on a terrestrial radio station. But I wanted to make it available because I believe it speaks to what goes on behind every Red Shield all around the world. And as I mentioned before, our hope is to educate the public on what the Salvation Army really does and why we do it. And I would like for that to be a vehicle to help educate people, to help them know the Salvation Army. Oftentimes on the show, I refer to the Salvation Army in Knoxville as your Salvation Army Area Command. Because I want people to feel a sense of ownership in their local market where that's the Salvation Army. It's not just the Salvation Army.
That's my Salvation Army. And I kind of want to transfer ownership that way so that the public not only understands it and is educated about it, but feels a sense of ownership with it. That's what our hope is for this podcast, that it reaches a larger audience and that people begin to understand the Salvation Army as a whole and not just that they have red kettles at Christmas, but that every day of the year they're helping people and doing the most good.
Yeah, I like that perspective. You're giving it back to them. The truth is in the communities that we serve, while we have a major international footprint, we don't exist without the help of locals.
Absolutely. People giving us the resources to help their fellow humans in need. It is pretty impressive how that all works. We know that God has his hand on it, in it. We trust that we are using those resources as God has led us, but we can't do it without you. So if you're listening to this podcast and you live anywhere near a local Salvation Army, I can't say it enough. Please figure out how you might be able to help us come alongside of us.
And it doesn't mean only your money. We need volunteers. We need people to help us.
Let's keep it local for you. Where can they, this is your opportunity, where can they go to learn more and help? You can always check out our website at Salvation Army Knoxville dot O-R-G. You can also give us a call at 865-525-9401.
And you can, if you'd like to volunteer, all of our volunteer needs are on volunteer east Tennessee dot com. That's pretty straightforward. I think you might've done that before. I've done it a little bit. Yeah.
Every episode. Listen, Ron, it's been a real pleasure having you here. We thank God for what you're doing for what the Salvation Army is doing in Knoxville, but we thank God for people like you who use their own life story to help us be a part of others.
Absolutely. God bless you. The Salvation Army's mission, Doing the Most Good, means helping people with material and spiritual needs. You become a part of this mission every time you give to the Salvation Army. Visit salvationarmyusa.org to offer your support. And we'd love to hear from you. Call 1-800-229-9965 or visit salvationarmyradio.org to connect.
Tell us how we can help. Share prayer requests or your testimony. With your permission, we would love to use your story on the show. You can also subscribe to Words of Life on your favorite podcast store or visit salvationarmyradio.org to learn about more programs produced by the Salvation Army. And if you don't have a church home, we invite you to visit your local Salvation Army worship center. They'll be glad to see you. Join us next time for the Salvation Army's Words of Life.
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