US Navy veteran grateful for the times the Salvation Army was there for him

SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) – Thank God for the dozens of volunteers who turned up on a holiday like Thanksgiving.

Many helped the Salvation Army of Northwest Louisiana provide meals to hundreds of people on Thursday, November 24.

The assembly line included people filling plates and handing them out to families waiting in vehicles.

[RELATED: Salvation Army of NWLA to serve Thanksgiving meals]

A group of volunteers have made it their mission to join this year’s effort.

“The opportunity to serve, whether you are at work, at home, or in the church, is beyond all means,” said volunteer David Anderson. “Really, it’s one of those things where we enjoy when people’s eyes light up.”

Abbie Anderson said, “I think being here today as a community and being able to see and work with some wonderful people and be able to work with some wonderful people just really shows how much God is affecting our lives and our community. It shows his love for us through our community.”

A Navy veteran says the Salvation Army has always helped him.

“In 1969, on this Thanksgiving Day, I was at Hill 55, about 15 miles southwest of Da Nang. I spent Thanksgiving on that hilltop with my US Marines,” Anthony Pronette said, recalling a Thanksgiving he celebrated while serving in Vietnam.

On Thursday, he celebrated with the Salvation Army as they provided food for him and several others.

Pronette also remembers a different time when the non-profit organization was there for him.

“When I left Vietnam in 1970, I came back to Allendale.”

Where he grew up in Shreveport, Louisiana.

He returned home… at one of the lowest points in his life.

“I sold my house at the time. I was young and I don’t know any better. I lost everything I had.”

Pronette endured so many losses and found its silver lining in the form of a red badge.

“I noticed there’s a Salvation Army in downtown Shreveport.”

It was then that a young Anthony found a warm home with the Salvation Army for the first time.

“I went in there and stayed there for two or three days. I was about 20 years old and they put me in a sleeping area on the second floor.”

Anthony said this was not the only time the Salvation Army had helped him. And he is grateful for the organization’s presence in his life.

“I appreciated the Salvation Army a lot, man. Salvation. Army. The word salvation, then army comes at the end. I just felt safe in there, know what I mean?”

As they provided food for him and others in need on Thursday, Pronette was nostalgic for the help he first received a long time ago.

“Just look around, man. Look at the food for these people. They try to look out for each other and we have to do that.”