Relevents: Major Glenn G. Snyder
Major Glenn G. Snyder, administrator for The Salvation Army Ladore Lodge and Conference Center, talks about the youth ministry that brought him to the Army, preaching sermons in Jamaica, and seeing the joy in the faces of seniors when they ride a zip–line.
When I was a boy, my family relocated from just outside of Buffalo, N.Y., to Niagara Falls, near an Army corps. My parents were not committed Christians, but they always enjoyed hearing the band play music in front of the corps. The children who played with my siblings were active in the corps. The Sunday school encouraged them to invite my siblings and me. It was there I learned to play baritone horn, took singing lessons, and became a part of The Salvation Army. I learned skills in the youth outreach programs that still serve me today as an officer.
It’s beautiful to travel to countries and be welcomed with open arms. When I visited my in–laws who served in the Philippines, we stayed in a small village where the Army worked. The clinic and chapel had no electricity or running water. If you needed to wash, you did it in the river. I think I may have been the second or third white person the townspeople had ever seen. But when I needed a bed, they brought one from their home. When the corps needed more silverware, they went to their kitchens and gave us their own. Another memorable trip happened in Jamaica. I preached my first sermon there at age 16. It was inside a tiny church, which had only a kerosene lamp for light. But it was packed with people. Some stood outside and looked through the windows.
We had a zip–line at Ladore for years, but when we began to offer it to seniors, we wondered if any would be willing to try it. But, for a good number of them, it’s become their favorite activity. Some brag to their friends and family right after riding it. Others say they always wanted to try something like that, but felt people would stop them or tell them they were too old for such an activity. Here, there’s no judgment; everyone is welcome to try it. The oldest person to go down the line was 88 years old. The zip–line is a good activity for all seniors. If they don’t want to make the climb, they can assist by holding the ropes and harnessing others to the line.
I have two adopted grandchildren who bring much joy to my life. It’s funny how my wife Bonnie and I went from captains to majors; but as parents, we were better known as our son Kevin’s mom and dad. Now, we are known as Kingsley and Naya’s grandparents. As people get older, they become more identified by how they relate to the youngest in their family. The love revolves around them.
A few weeks ago, I was in Bermuda. As I walked into a shop, a customer rushed in. Without introducing herself or even saying “hello,” she loudly asked for help in finding a product. The clerk calmly said to her, “Good morning. Pardon me.” I was so impressed. The clerk politely responded in a way that said, “Slow down a bit, and I will be happy to help you.” The clerk reminded me that, although at times we can be in such a rush and focused on ourselves, we should try to be polite and civil. Today, the lack of respect we show toward each other is tearing our country apart.
Interview by Hugo Bravo