Lieutenant Joseph Cantrell
Lieutenant Joseph Cantrell

By JIM LANGHAM

DHI Media Staff Writer

jlangham@timesbulletin.com

The recent arrival of Lieutenant Joseph Cantrell to the Van Wert Salvation Army post brings an enthusiastic core officer who had never seen Van Wert or his house until he arrived at 2 a.m. on June 23.

Cantrell has come on as the assistant core officer working under present core officer Josh Brookman.

Ironically, said Cantrell, prior to Hurricane Sandy in New Jersey, he would have never envisioned himself in such a position.

“I was a party and hangout type person,” said Cantrell. “Then Hurricane Sandy happened and it took everything away, my house, my furniture and all.”

Cantrell’s only recourse at the time was to become involved with a Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Center in Newark, N.J. In so doing, he attached himself to the Newark Ironbound Core where he accepted Jesus into his life and began helping the core by feeding the homeless.

“After that, I felt a call to be an officer. I continued to help with the homeless and transients,” said Cantrell.

“When I was in the program two or three months and had been walking with God, I felt His call,” said Cantrell. “I told the Lord to show me if this is what He really wanted for me. He showed me that after all I had been through prior to my conversion, I could connect and relate to people.”

He said that when he told his mother what he had decided, she reminded him that one time when he was much younger, he had told her that all he wanted to do in life was help people.

“We pass people every day with spiritual needs,” added Cantrell. “We need to be an example and show them the way to happiness.”

Cantrell worked for the Newark core for a year, driving trucks for the Salvation Army. He picked up and distributed food to those with need. He also was involved with various youth programs.

Eventually he went to Suffern, New York to the College of Officer’s Training.

Currently, Cantrell is in charge of the local core’s Vacation Bible School, Bible studies on Tuesday, also the Home League (women’s ministries) on Tuesday as well as various youth programs.

“We are so blessed to have really good volunteers in Van Wert, especially for the Wednesday soup kitchen,” said Cantrell.

“I love Van Wert. I grew up in Howell, N.J. I’m glad to get back to the slower pace. Life here is a welcome change,” said Cantrell. “People around here are so willing to help. I’m super happy to be here.”