The Salvation Army Lassie Appeals to The Army of Firemen
THERE’S only one other person in this American commonwealth besides the Firemen who’s as underpaid as he, as everlastingly on the job and ready for emergencies as he. And that person is a girl! Ah-hah, Fire Laddies! Maybe that’ll make you sit up like a 4-alarm and ache to chew the hose into shredded wheat, eh?
But she’s a nice girl. She can even smile after lugging pots of hot coffee and doughnuts through the slush all night to the boys at a big warehouse fire. In the greasy, yellow mud of Flanders when the rain and the shells and men’s hopes were falling, this girl smiled and handed out steamin’ chocolate and doughnuts, and smiled some more for good measure. Oh, she’s pure gold, this girl. She’s the Salvation Army Lassie.
Like the fire department, the Salvation Army is always ready—night and day. In every Salvation Army “station” you’ll find a relief department. And you’ll also find shelves of Hour, rice, potatoes, canned goods, sugar, coffee, tinned milk, spaghetti. Other shelves will contain clothing and shoes for men, women and kids.
If a man comes in asking’ for help and says he’s broke and out of a job, the wife sick-a-bed and the little ones back in the tenement whimpering for food, the Salvation Army officer is ready to give a helping hand in a jiffy. From the store room he collects a basket of food. By telephone he notifies some kindly doctor who is doing free medical work for poor families recommended by the Army. Then he turns the man over to the Salvation Army employment bureau, and he’s off.
The Salvation Army officer learns Emergency-firstaid in his training college. Consequently, when he arrives at the squalid tenement home he helps a lassie look after the sick mother. The lassie bustles about, preparing supper, washing the grimy faces of the kids, cleaning up the rooms. The Salvationists know just what to do—they were first trained to give help to persons in distress; then they learned efficient methods, just like the veteran firemen, from long experience. And they’re always ready to give help—”Without regard for religion, color or race.”
A Lassie has to go to a training college for a year and a half before she gets any pay. And then what dy’e think she gets? Exactly $14 a week! No parties for this girl, no carbaret flirting, no “latest Paris styles” ballroom gowns. No; she’s strong for the fire eater’s favorite uniform—plain blue with no fancy trimmings, and a blue bonnet instead of a cap.
And kind! Why, a Lassie would even be kind to a sidewalk strategist. Just so it’s a human being, that’s all she cares. If he’s honestly in need of help, financial, medical, industrial, why, she’s Johnny-onthe-spot.
Up till about the end of the war—say, for about the last forty years—the Lassies with the blue bonnets have been mothering the tatterdemalions of America. But for the most part the country didn’t notice or care. Firemen, it is true, noticed and were grateful for the hot coffee at the big, stubborn blazes; but generally a Lassie got little thanks. Not that she was in the business of harvesting praise; her business, she said, was fighting poverty, sickness and distress.
And then the Boys began coming home. They’d seen the Lassies in the thick of it in France, steadfast, devoted and untiring, faithful and smiling. A whole nation stood up and voiced its approval of those girls. It was gratitude straight from the heart, too. They were so proud, those girls; proud to think they’d had a chance to serve Uncle Sam and his boys, proud to know they’d made good on the job. And it made the Lassies a bit choky, for it’s hard to say thanks through the tears.
Well, if you thought Miss Lassie was going to come back to the old U. S. A., and take a back seat, you were mistaken. She’s still on active service, right here on the home sector. There’s the hundreds of industrial homes, the slum settlements, the day nurseries, the “poor man’s hospitals,” the fresh air camps, the homes for drug addicts and ex-convicts. And there’s the twenty-six maternity hospitals throughout the country where disillusioned girls and their fatherless babies are sheltered.
There’s no end of duties the Salvation Army Lassies have resumed in these blessed days of pence. You’d probably be mighty astonished to know the Salvation Army, figuring from forty years’ experiene, intends to give away nearly 4,000,000 meals to the worthy poor in the next twelve months, supply 2,500,000 l>eds and give temporary relief to nearly 1,000,000 persons in addition to the foregoing.
To maintain all these activities the Solvation Army will make a country-wide appeal for funds from May 10 to May 20 next.
Yes, a fine girl is the Salvation Army Lassie. The Firemen will give their hearts to you jny day, sister, any day.
You wear no rouge or false hair or breezy silkwaists or frilly dresses—maybe that’s why all the boys love you. You work in the filth and the muck and the stench of the slums, sister, and you’re a lady.
You’re a lady!
(Gentlemen of the Fire Service, get ready for the “Appeal in May.
From all that has been learned of them in the daily orderings of their individual lives and of their utterly self-sacrificing and most efficient service among sickness and suffering on the stricken fields of France and Flanders and Italy, any man must needs regard the Salvation Army as a thing apart, almost a consecrated entity whose work is admirable beyond compare.
Its cause is the Cause of Ilumans in dire need; altogether lovely is its ministration.
To that Cause each man of us should give what reasonably he may and consider each contribution a privilege, as most surely it is, for which he should be gratefully and reverently thankful.—Editor)