Commissioner William A. Bamford III, territorial commander, made a historic announcement at last year’s Appointment Service in Hershey, Pa. “Without soldiers,” he began, “there is no Army. To develop a clearer chain of communication between soldiery and leadership, the cabinet of the USA Eastern Territory has made the decision to initiate the role and the appointment of a Territorial Sergeant Major (TSM).” Bamford invited Corps Sergeant Major (CSM) Kristina Hevenor from the Lowell, Mass., Corps, to the platform and commissioned her as the first to hold this rank as a soldiers’ advocate. In response, Hevenor graciously accepted the post and said, “Thank you for recognizing the voices of the soldiers.” Recently, Hevenor shared her thoughts on the new role.
Tell us about your new appointment. I am excited to be the first Territorial Sergeant Major (TSM) of the USA Eastern Territory. The TSM is established specifically as a communication link between the soldiers of the territory and the territorial commander. I hope to speak on behalf of soldiers and convey their ideas, suggestions, recommendations, and concerns directly to the territorial commander and through the new Territorial Soldiers Express Council (TSEC).
Where and when did you become a soldier and CSM? I was enrolled as a junior soldier at the Cincinnati Citadel, Ohio, Corps and as a senior soldier at the Manchester, N.H., Corps. I was commissioned as the CSM of the Lowell, Mass., Corps in February of 2017.
What do you hope your appointment will accomplish? We are an Army of soldiers. Unfortunately, though, our structure does not currently allow for a communication chain from those of us in the trenches to those at the top. Frankly, there is currently no mechanism for a soldier to share a suggestion or express a concern to territorial leadership. The TSM position and the Territorial Soldiers Express Council will bridge that communication gap and ultimately lead to positive change for soldiers, corps, and the territory.
Commissioner Bamford called the role a “soldiers’ advocate.” What does that mean to you? My background is in social work, so advocacy is practically my middle name! A soldiers’ advocate will listen, gather ideas, identify needs, and ultimately effect change. The outcome should be change. Without change, it’s all just talk.
How important is it for soldiers to have an advocate and a voice? God is revealing His will for the Army of today and tomorrow. I believe that His revelations are just as likely to come to soldiers as to officers. If we desire a vibrant, Spirit–focused, relevant, saving, discipling Army, then we must be ready to listen to the voices of all of us.
What has prepared you for this role? I am incredibly humbled to be selected for this role, but I also know that God has prepared me well. I have served my own corps in various leadership positions and represented the soldiers of the territory on the 2020 Vision Task Force. Having experienced challenging situations in my corps, as well as successful and exciting ventures, I have witnessed the value of strong local leadership. I believe in the voices of soldiers, and I’m ready to speak truth to power on their behalf.
Is there any significance to the timing? Why now? We all know that the American church, including the Army, is struggling. People need Jesus—they just don’t know it! How are we going to get that message to them? How can they see the love of God through us? How can we make “the main thing” the main thing? The time is now, and our territorial leaders have recognized that we are all needed “for such a time as this.”
by Robert Mitchell