SYRACUSE N.Y. (NCC News) — The Salvation Army’s 51st Annual Civic Celebration took place Tuesday (Oct. 18) at the Oncenter Convention Center. The event featured a luncheon, presentations, and a special guest speaker, Olympian Lolo Jones.
“This is my first time in Syracuse and I’m so excited to be here,” said Jones, who competed in the 2012 and 2008 Olympic Games as a track and field athlete. “Even though this is not my home, the Salvation Army is near and dear to me and actually feels like home.”
According to Jones, growing up her family was homeless at one point. They got help from the Salvation Army and lived in their facilities. Jones was in Syracuse on Tuesday to help raise money for the Salvation Army Syracuse Area Services so she could help those in situations like she was when she was a child.
The Annual Civic Celebration also rewards those in the Central New York area who go above and beyond for their community. This year, the Salvation Army honored the president of the CenterState Corporation for Economic Opportunity Robert Simpson, “Oh My Darling,” restaurant owner Ryan Benz, and Booth House contributor Mary Pat Lindsley.
Salvation Army Development Coordinator, Samantha Miller, said she hopes the event will not only help raise money for people in need but also encourage people to volunteer with the Salvation Army.
“We could use volunteers to help in our daycares and help in with our yard clean-up,” said Miller. “Also people to go in and help with our senior center and help in our food pantry stocking shelves. There’s definitely a lot of need for volunteers.”