He was only a child the first time he set foot in a Salvation Army building. Since then, life has taken Major Richard Hathorn down many paths, but ultimately led him back to one that has become his family's legacy.
"I've been in the Salvation Army for over half a century because I was born in the Salvation Army to Salvation Army parents."
So were his four siblings, three of them now officers and one of them a soldier in the Salvation Army. And it runs in the family his wife and daughter- also officers. His son- another soldier. His grand-children have been dedicated as well making four generations of Hathorns involved in the Salvation Army.
Major Hathorn says even though he grew up in the Salvation Army, his parents never pressured or asked him to follow their example. In fact, it took him several years to get back to his "calling."
"I didn't always know I would do this. I've worked in offices in a company, in factories. I've worked in research and development and work sales, plus 7 years of military work."
But for the past 23 years, he's had no doubt that he's doing the work God called him to do.
"People can move down the road from the gutter-life to God-guided living. That's the kind of thing that motivates you to keep doing it."
But he's not bulletproof. When he finds himself in trying times, he says he turns to the ones who understand best.
"When it comes to the family, we talk the same language. I can call my children and we can talk and share similar stories. My daughter is doing the same thing I'm doing in Georgia."
Finally, after more than half a century of dedicating his life to the work of giving to others, Major Richard Hathorn says he's ready for more.
"As William Booth said, who founded the Salvation Army, in the early days when he knew this was what he needed to do, 'I've found my destiny.' And that's what I would have to borrow from that quote: I've found my destiny in the work of the Salvation Army."
Reporting: Braid Sharp firstname.lastname@example.org
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