STEUBENVILLE - Maj. Earline May has been the commanding officer of the Steubenville Salvation Army for 11 years and eight months and is in her 40th year as a pastor with the Salvation Army.
But she's nearing the end of that journey.
The Steubenville Kiwanis Club that she has been a member since coming to the community on Oct. 1, 2002, saluted her Tuesday at its luncheon meeting at the YWCA with flowers, song and well wishes as May embarks on the next leg of her service-to-fellow-man trip.
LEAVING — Maj. Earline May, commanding officer of the Salvation Army in Steubenville since October 2002, was feted at the Steubenville Kiwanis Club luncheon meeting Tuesday at the YWCA. In her 40th year as a pastor with the Salvation Army, With her is Casimir Adulewicz, Kiwanis president. - Janice Kiaski
Come June 23, May officially leaves Steubenville for an 18-month stint at the Salvation Army in Columbus where she'll spearhead the department for human trafficking and work in the finance department. Then she'll retire.
"I am going there because my associate and good friend of 20 years (Karen Zehler) is very sick," May told her fellow Kiwanians. "I have been her caregiver for two years, and I think it takes a wise person who can come to the place and say I can't do it all, and I could not continue to be able to be a full-time caregiver to her and do the ministry for the Salvation Army like it needed to be done," May said.
With her and Zehler both having family in Columbus, May said she asked the Salvation Army to move her to the state capital post to finish out her officership, "and they've honored that wish."
"As I go to Columbus, I will be spearheading the department for human trafficking, which has become a big problem throughout the nation, and the Salvation Army has taken on that task over the past two years. I also will be working in the finance department. I am looking forward to the new appointment and looking ahead to the next 18 months as I enter into official retirement," she said, thanking the Kiwanis for all that they do in the community for children, the club's key focus.
There will be a public farewell service in May's honor at 11 a.m. on June 23 at the Salvation Army, 332 N. Fourth St.
May will begin her new duties in Columbus on June 26, the day her local successors are due to begin theirs. Capt. Steve and Dolly Griffin of Alliance will be welcomed at a public service at 11 a.m. June 30 at the Salvation Army post. It will be a second career for both husband and wife, according to May. Steve Griffin served in the Marines as a gunnery.
Of her time in the area, May said, "It's been wonderful, it's been challenging, but wonderful - a great community in which to work and to serve and to live. The financial part of it has been challenging, but the community is very receptive to the Army, and I am going to miss it."
May said she will be busy packing the next three weeks and moving, so Tuesday was the best day for a farewell luncheon with her Kiwanian colleagues.
"They are wonderful people. I am going to miss them," she said. "Kiwanis has been a good fit for me because of their mission to children," she added, noting she plans to join a Kiwanis Club in Columbus.
"My memories have been good. I love the community and the people I have met, a good supportive community to the Salvation Army. I just pray the new officers coming in find it to be as enjoyable as I have found it over the last 11 years and eight months."
Asked what her words of wisdom are for the Griffins, May said, "Stay prayed up, work hard and have fun.
"I think I've worked hard to build a good community base throughout the community, and there hasn't been a business person or community person that I've met that has had anything negative to say about the Salvation Army," May said when asked what she considered among her accomplishments during her service locally.