Salvos Hero – Peter Wright
Where did it all start?
My parents were both Salvation Army Officers, but I was always encouraged to follow my own path. As a kid, I wasn’t really interested in service or following in their footsteps.
It wasn’t until I was an adult myself, holidaying in Germany when I received my calling telling me this is what you’ve got to do (joining the Salvos ). On returning to Australia, I immediately applied for the salvos training college where I met my future wife, who is still a Salvation Army Minister today. We married and then entered The Salvation Army service together.
I’m very grateful to my parents for letting me choose my own path in my own way.
How have social issues changed during your time in service?
We’ve become more aware about certain issues and are actually getting serious about them. One that comes to mind is domestic violence, which was once swept under the carpet by society; even dismissed or ignored. I think it’s important we continue to do all we can to keep the issue in the spotlight, letting people know that it’s not acceptable in our society.
I believe we’ve come a long way and in a good direction, but there is a lot more work to be done.
What do you see as our most pressing social issue today?
There are many, but the one that comes to my mind is the evil, destructive ice epidemic. I’ve seen it destroy lives through my chaplain work with the police. We need to help and educate those who are most vulnerable to taking up the habit, whether because of boredom or social pressure. Users become unpredictable in a dangerous way and are at real risk of harming themselves or others.
What do you want to see from The Salvation Army in 5 years’ time?
I think the Salvos should be careful not to try to do everything – there are key areas such as food shortages, drug and alcohol rehabilitation and homelessness that need our immediate attention. The Salvation Army should continue to work closely with local and federal governments to keep these issues at the forefront of policy making.
Apart from donating, what can we do to help others?
We appreciate everything people do to help the Salvos. Financial donations are still highly regarded because The Salvation Army can direct the funds to where they are needed most. However, we can always use the support of volunteers who manage our Salvation Army stores across the country or work with us in their local area.
We can all care more about others. We don’t need to be scared of or ignore people who have disabilities or who are different from us just because we don’t understand their situation or don’t know how to communicate with them. A kind word, a simple ‘hello’ can go a long way to making anyone’s day regardless of ability and social status. We all just want to feel connected and part of a wider community that cares.
My experience in service has been amazing. I’ve met some pretty extraordinary and important people along the way who I wouldn’t have met outside the service. I’m very privileged to be in this position; I definitely took the right path.
Peter and his wife are looking forward to attending The Salvation Army’s 150th anniversary celebrations in London later this year.
For further details about The Salvation Army and the extensive services it offers as well as how to volunteer or donate please visit: www.salvationarmy.org.au
28 April 2015