September is National Preparedness Month

The emblem of SATERN features a radio tower.

Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network (SATERN) Works with Emergency Disaster Services (EDS) to keep the World Safe

When William H. “Bill” Feist III got his Novice and General amateur radio license as a high schooler in 1968, being part of The Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network (SATERN) wasn’t part of his game plan for his future – in fact, the all-volunteer organization of licensed amateur radio operators – didn’t even exist until 20 years later.

As a teenager, amateur radio (also known as ham radio) was an interesting hobby that brought Feist’s interests in electronics, people and communication together.  As an adult, he realized it was a calling.

“There’s no doubt this is what God has called me to do.  There are all forms of ministry and disaster relief work is one of the forms of ministry,” Feist said.

Feist became involved in SATERN in 1994, was named a statewide SATERN Coordinator in 1995, became a Divisional SATERN Coordinator in the Northern Division (Minnesota and North Dakota), and has been The Salvation Army’s Southern Territory SATERN Coordinator since 2008. Since 2016, he has also served as the National SATERN Liaison.

“It’s an interesting and fulfilling job. I work with the four disaster coordinators – Eastern, Southern, Central and Western Divisions.  Each is a separate entity. Each has multiple divisions. We have nine divisions in the Southern Division,” Feist said.

Major Patrick E. McPherson created The Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network. He remained the national SATERN Director until his retirement in 2011. He died in May 2016, just a week before he was to be awarded the Exceptional Service Award by The Salvation Army National Headquarters for his leadership in developing and leading SATERN.

Amateur radio is used to talk across town and around the world – even into space. So, why not use it to help people in times of disaster thought Major Patrick E. McPherson when he proposed it to The Salvation Army in 1988.

“Major McPherson, who was the EDS Director for the Heartland Division at the time, created SATERN to support The Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services (EDS) program with emergency communications.  As a result, SATERN operators are EDS volunteers with a specialty in emergency communications.  Each SATERN volunteer is an amateur radio operator who has been licensed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) after learning electronics and radio theory and relevant FCC regulations and then passing a FCC test to obtain their license.  SATERN volunteers may be a Salvation Army officer, soldier, or employee.  However, most SATERN volunteers are community members who are licensed amateur radio operators whose only connection to The Salvation Army is through SATERN,” Feist said.

Feist, too, has served as an EDS Director for The Salvation Army. In 1998, he was hired as the Twin Cities (Minneapolis-St. Paul) EDS Director and became an Assistant Divisional EDS Director for the Northern Division (Minnesota and North Dakota) in 2000. In August, 2004, Feist became the Divisional EDS Director and SATERN Coordinator for the Alabama-Louisiana-Mississippi (ALM) Division.

“My amateur radio call sign is WB8BZH.  An amateur radio operator’s call sign is very precious to that operator.  The operator is the only person in the world with that call sign.  It is unique and specific to that person who has worked hard to study electronics, radio theory and government regulations in order to take and pass the government test required to become a license amateur radio operator.  This is true of amateur radio operators worldwide,” Feist said.

There are about 2 million amateur radio operators in the world, and U.S. citizens represent nearly half of that number – over 800,000 at last count.

Richard Carey (left) and Mark Griggs (right) operating the SATERN station during Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

“SATERN first went on-the-air on Saturday, June 25, 1988 with four amateur radio operators – two from the U.S. and two from Canada.  Two months later, SATERN responded to its first international disaster by providing emergency communications from Jamaica to the United States during Hurricane Gilbert which killed 341 people in the Caribbean and Central America.  SATERN was a critical element in passing emergency messages between Atlanta, Georgia, and Jamaica,” Feist said.

From those original four amateur radio operators in 1988, SATERN has grown to have a registered membership of over 4,300 amateur radio operators in the continental United States and another 180 registered international members.

Nearly 30 years later, SATERN’s purpose continues to be “To provide The Salvation Army and its Emergency Disaster Services ministry with emergency and auxiliary communications and technical expertise.”

SATERN has three primary missions, Feist explained:  (1) Manage emergency, priority and health and welfare messages – usually via amateur radio but also by other means when that is more efficient; (2) Provide operational and tactical communications; and (3) Provide technical expertise.

“Not all, but many SATERN volunteers have a wide range of technical skills including Internet technology, knowledge and experience with generators, electronics, satellite communications, expertise with other forms of radio communications besides amateur radio, drones, computer programming and many more.  SATERN volunteers come from a wide variety of professional backgrounds including doctors, nurses, Internet technology (IT) professionals, emergency management professionals, the military, law enforcement, lawyers, mechanics and almost any other profession imaginable.  The commonality is that each of these SATERN volunteers brings their individual professional skills to a disaster operation in addition to their amateur radio skills,” Feist said.

A map shows the continental United States SATERN operations.

SATERN has served at the local, national and international levels in many disasters.

“Over the years, SATERN has become an international leader in providing health and welfare message support during both national and international disasters.  Several amateur radio partners involved in emergency communications regularly refer other amateur radio operators and groups to the International SATERN Nets for this service so that they can concentrate on their unique missions,” Feist said.

When asked if any disasters stood out for him personally, Feist was quick to respond.

“The Red River Valley Flood.  In April 1997, SATERN provided emergency communications support for The Salvation Army in Grand Forks following a devastating flood that inundated 85% of the city resulting in the evacuation of 50,000 people from Grand Forks, North Dakota, and another 10,000 people from East Grand Forks, Minnesota. SATERN remained active in this disaster for several weeks. It then helped The Salvation Army negotiate, install and manage a more permanent commercial radio system that was used for several years afterwards. They also helped personnel with managing a relatively new and – at that time – unfamiliar communications device called a cellular phone,” Feist said.

A map shows the international SATERN operations.

He was the SATERN Coordinator for North Dakota at that time. In the three weeks he served at the disaster site, he saw firsthand the devastation flooding can have on the human spirit.

“Flooding is often not covered by insurance so they had nothing to rebuild.  Of all the different kinds of disasters, as an employee and a volunteer, floods are the disasters I hate the most because folks are often on their own with the help from The Salvation Army and other organizations being the only help they receive. Floods are probably the hardest to raise money for.  The needs are so great because most people don’t have flood insurance. It’s the worst of both worlds,” Feist said.

Another flooding disaster in 2005 – Hurricane Katrina – was the single most notable SATERN response, Feist said.

“The SATERN Network received over 61,000 missing person requests that came into the network at an overwhelming rate of 20 messages and inquiries per second.  In spite of the massive challenges presented by this flood of requests and with the help of SATERN volunteers who were IT professionals and commercial companies that donated their time, personnel and resources, SATERN managed to locate 25,508 people in the disaster area. SATERN also handled numerous requests for emergency assistance that saved lives during one of the worst disaster in U.S. history,” Feist said.

Spring, summer, fall and winter, the need for SATERN’s skills and response never stops – as does the need for volunteers.

“This year, the first few months were nonstop. From Christmas to March, every week it was something.  We can always use volunteers and amateur radio operators in disaster services.  It is the ministry and it is worth considering,” Feist said.

Also on Feist’s mind for National Preparedness Month is the need to remind citizens to be prepared personally for unexpected disasters.

“I encourage people to have a family disaster plan so everyone knows a place to meet outside the home so they know how to find each other.  Everyone in the family needs to know: Where do they go? Who do they call? A disaster kit is important, too.  The Red Cross has good resources for that,” Feist said referring to http://www.redcross.org/get-help/prepare-for-emergencies/be-red-cross-ready/get-a-kit.

Even the August 21, 2017 Great American Solar Eclipse didn’t escape the SATERN leader’s attention. The group partnered with the American Red Cross and the American Radio Relay League to provide a national communications link for local Red Cross units across the U.S. in the event of a communications failure during the eclipse.

Bill Feist became the National SATERN Liaison in 2016.

“We are always preparing and training officers and volunteers and making sure equipment is working and plans are in place, coordinating with other organizations and the government,” Feist said.

Bill Feist is a man with a plan, dedicating his life to encouraging others to be prepared and help their fellow human beings in times of disaster – certainly this is a calling from God he has heeded well.

If you are interested in learning more about The Salvation Army’s National Emergency Disaster Services, go to: Disaster.SalvationArmyUSA.org  To learn more about the national and international efforts of SATERN, visit:  SATERN.org.  If you are interested in receiving the weekly SATERN Newsletter, contact National SATERN Liaison Bill Feist for additional information at Bill.Feist@USS.SalvationArmy.org.

August is National Coffee Month

Coffee Houses in Lebanon and Cleveland are Making a Difference with Social Ministries

Inman Coffee offers hand-pulled coffee and live music.

According to a Gallup poll, about two-thirds of Americans adults drink at least one cup a day of coffee with the average being almost 3 cups a day. Thankfully, it’s an enjoyable habit with research showing that moderate coffee drinking may be good for your health.

Although those are good reasons for The Salvation Army to have two thriving coffee shops in the Kentucky Tennessee Division, it’s not why they exist or why they are flourishing.  The answers to those questions are more complex and interesting.

Inman Coffee was founded in 2011 in Cleveland, Tennessee. The Roast was founded in Lebanon, Tennessee, in 2013.  Both serve as social ministries of The Salvation Army.

What exactly is a social ministry? Well, that’s kind of complicated, too. In a nutshell, it’s a ministry that follows the teachings of Jesus whose own mission was social outreach and service to others. Jesus demonstrated such service and instructed others to do the same. A social ministry means being ready to serve and love your neighbor – people of all ages in any situation or context – wherever they may be.

Neither local Salvation Army Corps had a community center of any kind. There was no place available for them to do ministry, so the local corps decided to create one.

Inman Coffee and The Roast are non-profit coffee houses.

In Cleveland, The Salvation Army decided it could utilize Joel Rogers’ experience operating a coffeehouse to minister to the community in a new way.

“I founded Inman Coffee in the fall of 2009.  We proposed the program with The Salvation Army and got approval in late 2010, then it hit some delays but finally it opened in October 2011. We average serving about 4,000 people a month. So doing the math of 12 months a year for six years, that’s a lot of people,” Joel Rogers said.

Yes, it is – 288,000 to be exact.

“I had just graduated from Lee University in Cleveland, Tennessee with a degree in Ministry. I was looking for a meaningful ministry. I’m from North Carolina and had done a smaller scale coffee house ministry there.  Obviously, we love coffee and we love that we are able to open up the world of coffee to others and educate them about the process of coffee, too,” Rogers said.

The “we” he refers to, is his wife, Cheryl Rogers. She is the coffeehouse manager, while Joel Rogers focuses on the ministry part of things.

“In August 2009, I came to my first Salvation Army Bible study and just fell in love with the people. Inman Coffee started out with a very humble beginning. Cleveland has little activity going on for students except Wednesday and Sunday services.  We wanted to be a consistent safe place for people. I’d rather them be here for support than at a bar,” Rogers said.

Inman Coffee offers a large variety of beverages – including hand-pulled coffee, Cuban coffee, espresso, cappuccino, latte, chai, and cocoa – but there’s something beyond the great tasting coffee that has people coming back for more.

All proceeds of The Salvation Army coffee houses fund projects and services provided to those in need.

“We focus on young people and leadership training. We’ve had over 100 students in our Leadership Program which focuses on life skills, job skills, personal development and service to the community. Our goal is to empower young people to make positive, God-honoring choices that will last a lifetime. We have live music and just had our 474th act this weekend. Once a month, we have a free coffee tasting. We show them what it takes to bring coffee to them from the nurturing of the plants, to the workers involved in the harvesting.  When they buy their coffee from us, they are changing lives,” Rogers said.

The founder of Inman Coffee has big plans for the future, too.

“Our dream long-term is to grow this coffee house ministry well past the boundaries of Cleveland.  We want to set this up in a way that can be easily duplicated. It’s a subtle ministry.  We can love on our people when they come in. They don’t have to be pounded over the head with a Bible to know the love of God. That’s the culture we’ve set up. It’s not up to us to know how deep the relationships will become. We love them as Jesus would love them when they come here,” Rogers said.

Much like Cleveland, Tennessee, The Salvation Army in Lebanon, Tennessee, did not have a community center to do ministry.

The Roast offers live music and other social activities.

“Our Lebanon Corps team is four to five years old. We wanted to create an alternative, something to do besides hangout at McDonald’s, Walmart or a bar in Wilson County. We didn’t need another chapel or building, we needed an alternative to drinking alcohol and an alternative to the bar scene. We are located near Cumberland University and the bars really target that age,” Sargent Tom Freeman said.

So, in April 2013, The Roast opened.

“We are a bit different from Inman Coffee.  We’re really a different model. We are a ‘pay what you can’ coffee house. We have a suggested price. One person will give you more, another will pay less, but it works out,” Freeman said.

Another difference is that Inman Coffee is open every day of the week as a full service coffee house, while The Roast is open two evenings a week.

“We’re volunteer and soldier led. No one is paid. We’re open Friday and Saturday from 7 p.m. to midnight.  We have a huge variety of people come in from high schoolers, to college students, to families.  We get folks who are regulars and they come after work. We’ve seen many friendships form, which has been awesome. We’re loving it,” Freeman said.

In addition to having coffee, espresso, smoothies and Italian sodas, The Roast offers some unique ways to entertain and minister to others.

The Roast offers a quiet place to chat with friends. Photo by Jana Pastors.

“We have a ‘Cup for the Wall’ where people can write some encouragement or a blessing or a mini-prayer, and when someone isn’t able to pay, they can get the cup of coffee and the message. We’ve had live music, karaoke, and open mike; often they’ll bring a buddy with a guitar. We have Canvas Night, where for $5 we supply a small canvas, acrylic paint, trays, and brushes. We have board game nights, too, where we encourage families to make it a night at The Roast. ” Freeman said.

Watching the popularity of The Roast increase has been rewarding for Freeman.

“The Salvation Army provides something pretty amazing here. I say ‘Look what God’s doing and join him.’  We looked at our team of volunteers and what their passions are and built things from there. Raechel Freeman, she’s my wife, and part of the team that brought the vision together,” Freeman said.

When asked about the impact of The Roast on the community, Freeman conferred with his wife and said: “The Roast is The Salvation Army’s community outreach that helps bind together generations, whole families. When The Roast’s not open, it’s outreach time. We have prayer groups and a young adult worship group from several different churches. Whenever other groups come in, they say this was the best meeting ever. There’s so much prayer going on in the building. It’s a binding agent for churches to come together and to work together. We are a safe space to make meaningful connections and friendships while keeping open to the Holy Spirit,” Freeman said.

The Roast and Inman Coffee are great places to catch up with friends and make new ones. Photo by Jana Pastors.

To make things even better, both coffee houses use only Free Trade (The Roast) or Direct Trade (Inman Coffee) certified organic coffee beans. Fair Trade standards are regulated by Fair Trade USA, a non-profit third party. Direct Trade standards are determined and regulated by the coffee bean roasters. They visit the coffee farm regularly to determine the quality of the coffee and to make sure all standards are being met.

“Coffee trade is large and there is an incredible amount of abuse. We took time to partner with a roaster who only gets coffee beans in Direct Trade.  We aren’t just looking out for people here; we are helping young families in Ethiopia live a better life. Our coffee is helping people literally around the globe,” Rogers said.

When it comes to social ministry, the ministers of Inman Coffee and The Roast are fulfilling Jesus’ hopes in a local and global way. What a perfect way to enjoy National Coffee Month.

To learn more about Inman Coffee, visit at 437 Inman Street, West, Cleveland, Tennessee, call (423) 305-6945, email Joel.Rogers@uss.salvationarmy.org or visit www.facebook.com/inmancoffee and www.inmancoffee.com.  You can order coffee for delivery to your home through the website shop.  The shop’s motto is “when you support Inman Coffee, you are supporting life change for incredible individuals both here and around the world!”

To learn more about The Roast, visit at 216 S Maple Street, Lebanon, Tennessee, call 615-784-9555, email tom_freeman@usw.salvationarmy.org or visit www.facebook.com/TheRoastLebanon/ and  www.salvationarmytennessee.org/wilson-county/the-roast/.

Motorcyclists Find New Way to Spread the Gospel

Captain Patrick Richmond Successfully Completes Division-wide Motorcycle Tour

The Division’s motorcyclist team with the Whole World Mobilizing flag in Nashville, TN.

There are many reasons why people ride motorcycles.  At the top of some lists are camaraderie and adventure.  Captain Patrick Richmond of The Salvation Army of Danville, Kentucky agrees with those reasons and adds a few more motives.

When Richmond decided to organize and lead a motorcycle ride around The Salvation Army’s Kentucky Tennessee Division, he said his goals were fourfold:  “To spread the gospel of Jesus Christ; to fellowship with other believers; to carry The Salvation Army flag across this great division and to pass it on to the Carolinas.”

On July 10, Richmond was presented the “Whole World Mobilizing” Flag by Captain John Sikes and Advisory Board Member Robert Huffman of The Salvation Army of Clarksburg, West Virginia, representing the Maryland West Virginia Division, as part of the General Andre Cox’s initiative to “Mobilize the Salvation Army.”

Captain Patrick Richmond stops to photograph the Cross and motorcycles with the beauty of Lake Junaluska, NC.

Richmond documented his 1981.0 mile journey on his Facebook page and began it with a prayer that he would be able to touch many lives with the teachings of Jesus Christ. If the thousands of views he has received on his Facebook posts in the past week are any indication, Richmond’s prayers have been answered.

“God is so good. I’m excited for the seeds that have been planted for Christ’s love through this tour,” Richmond said after completing the tour.

Richmond traveled from his home in Danville, Kentucky to Bristol, Tennessee on July 10 to begin a 4-day ride that would take him to nine of  the communities served by the Division – Bristol, TN, Ashland, KY, Lexington, KY, Louisville, KY, Owensboro, KY, Paducah, KY, Memphis TN, Nashville, TN, and Chattanooga, TN. Each stop gave the delegation a variety of opportunities to minister including a mobile food unit, a thrift shop, a children’s day camp, and even the road itself when they prayed for people involved in traffic accidents.

“Even at every gas station, God put people in our path to pray with them and share the gospel. In Kentucky, a diabetic homeless man nicknamed Kentucky and his dog wanted food.  Thanks to a gift we received in Frankfort, we were able to give him cinnamon loaves that met his dietary needs. These moments of being able to bless and encourage made it a trip worth taking,” Richmond said.

Captain Patrick Richmond with the motorcycles on the KY TN Divisional Motorcycle Tour.

Roger Fowler of Jackson, Tennessee, joined him in Bristol for the entire journey. Three additional bikers Jeremy Warf,  Tony Bellis, and Melvin McMonigal.– joined them in Louisville.

“I’m excited for the relationships that have been grown and fostered through this and the fellowships that have happened. God truly blessed me on this trip,” Richmond said.

His daily Facebook video post’s all included a message asking viewers to pray for him, the other travelers and the people they met and ministered to along the way.

Near the end of the tour, the bikers faced a dangerous stretch of road known as Tail of the Dragon at Deals Gap, North Carolina.  It has 318 curves in 11 miles and is known as America’s number one motorcycle and sports car road.  The road is bordered by the Great Smoky Mountains and the Cherokee National Forest.

“My anxiety was through the roof but God is good and his grace and his peace is overwhelming,” Richmond said after completing the stretch of road that contains a “Tree of Shame,” a monument made of bike parts from those who have crashed their motorcycles along the Tail of the Dragon.

Captain Patrick Richmond enjoys fellowship with 40 day campers and staff at The Salvation Army of Owensboro, KY.

“To me personally, it meant a lot for me to share my passion for motorcycling and to marry that with my passion for the ministry and my passion for Christ. Some of the people we met on the route may not have known Jesus Christ but they know motorcycling.  This ride gave me the opportunity to explain how I relate those two subjects together. That blesses my heart tremendously,” Richmond said.

“For the communities, I hope it was a new experience to see that bikers don’t have to be rough and tough. Bikers can also be Christians and enjoy the open road,” Richmond said.

When the tour began in Bristol, Major Art Fultz joined Richmond on his first Facebook video and described the tour as a “creative initiative.” He also expressed that he wished he had a motorcycle instead of just a 12-passenger van so he could join in the adventure. Richmond joked that Fultz could always join as a chaser, an automobile that follows behind and acts as a type of buffer with other vehicles when necessary for safety.

“Captain Carl Melton was our chaser – he and his five-year-old, Carly. She was a great co-pilot according to her Daddy,” Richmond said.

Captain Patrick Richmond enjoys a meal with fellow biker, Roger Fowler, and their chasers, Captain Carl Melton and his daughter, Carly.

Although Richmond said the journey was sometimes uncomfortable with asphalt and engine heat combining to create temperatures over 100 degrees, along with sunburns and cracked lips, he would do it again in a heartbeat.  In fact, he’s already planning a motorcycle tour for next year and invites interested folks to contact him at patrick.richmond@uss.salvationarmy.org .

“We continue to share on Facebook how life-changing this experience was for us and how to do this next year and allow other people to experience this. Any discomfort was worth it because the ride fulfilled our goal of carrying the gospel of Jesus Christ to people who may not otherwise have heard the message,” Richmond said.

On July 13, Richmond presented the flag to Captain Robert Long of The Salvation Army of Orangeburg, South Carolina. With that task completed, all of Richmond’s goals were met and as he rode his motorcycle home, he felt blessed knowing that God was with him every mile of the journey.