Upham's Corner Online

Salvation Army Massachusetts Division Names New Leaders

Posted: June 12, 2011     Nancy J Conrad

Kroc Center The Three Majors'

To read the Western Pennsylvania newspapers, you would barely notice the name Major William Bode. 

But here in Boston, Major William Bode is the Divisional Commander of the Massachusetts Division of the Salvation Army and his tenure includes accomplishment and controversy. 

But more important than anything else in Upham's Corner is the team he put together to see through a project that had been swamped in delays and difficulties in fundraising.  He carries with him a crowning accomplishment:  The Kroc Center.

We begin our story in 2004 and follow the career lives of three Major husband and wife teams - the Reel's, the Bode's and the Kelly's.

The Reel's
The Bode's
The Kelly's
2004 Majors Robert and Lynette Reel assigned to the Western Pennsylvania Division
Major William Bode makes controversial decision to "disaffiliate" with the United Way serving Bucks County Pennsylvania.  Link

Major Robert Reel assigned as Divisional Commander for Western Pennsylvania
Majors David and Naomi Kelly appointed Divisional Leaders of the Northern New England Division (NH, VT, ME)   Link

Majors William and Joan Bode assigned to head up the Massachusetts Division Link

2010 January

Major Bode responds to "officer housing" investigation


Major Bode makes controversial decision to "disaffiliate" with the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley


The  Kroc Center opens in the Upham's Corner section of Dorchester (April)


Kroc Center criticized for lack of accessibility to the neighborhood (April)

The Reel's retire from Western Pennsylvania effective
The Bode's appointed to head up the Western Pennsylvania Division

The Kelly's appointed to head up the Massachusetts Division
2011 July
The Reels Retire
The Bode's Move to Western PA
The Kelly's move to Boston (MA).

The Reel's take over Salvation Army Western PA 2004/5

In 2004, the Reel's moved to Pittsburgh for their final appointment. Major Robert was assigned as General Secretary, second in command for The Salvation Army in Western Pennsylvania with responsibility for the operations of Allegheny County.

In 2005 he was reassigned as Divisional Commander for Western Pennsylvania with responsibility for all operations in 28 counties. He also serves as a member of the Christian Fellowship of Bishops for Greater Pittsburgh and as Board Chair for Christian Associates of Southwest Pennsylvania. 

Majors Robert and Lynette Reel are co-bishops of The Salvation Army's Western Pennsylvania Division and are described as hands-on leaders.They can be found manning kettles in the cold; feeding the homeless at a community dinner; or shopping with children for new coats through Project Bundle-Up. This couple forged their career and calling on the streets, not behind a desk.

Major Lynette was appointed as Associate Divisional Commander.  She works with her husband in team ministry, providing pastoral care for officers in the division and is responsible for primary consultation to and oversight of the Women's Organizations programs with a direct liaison relationship to the Territorial President of Women's Ministries.  

Together they lead The Salvation Army in the ongoing battle to alleviate the pain of poverty and to bring hope to those who need it so desperately.

More text below

Major Bode disaffiliates with United Way 2004

In early July 2004, Capt. Douglas Bartlebaugh, commanding officer of the Salvation Army of Bucks County said, was told by the United Way that it was cutting its annual contribution to the Salvation Army of Bucks County from $79,378 to $45,000.

Instead of accepting the reduction, Salvation Army officials, including Major William Bode, decided to decline the money and on September 2, 2004 announced that its Bucks County branch had "disaffiliated" itself from the United Way of Bucks County.  The Salvation Army would need to make up for the lost revenue with more aggressive fund raising, in this case raising $85,000 in order to maintain the existing programs.

"This way we will be able to go to individuals, organizations and companies and ask for money directly," said Maj. William Bode Jr. of the Salvation Army's regional office for Pennsylvania and Delaware.

"This is not a decision we made lightly," said Capt. Bartlebaugh, "but it was a decision we had to make to continue to serve the people of Bucks County."

In the past, he added, many potential donors told Salvation Army volunteers they had given to United Way so now "We're asking the public to support us and send money directly to the Salvation Army and help us see that the people who have need get what they need," said Nelson Clements, chairman of the advisory board.

Bill Schofield, chief executive officer of United Way of Bucks County, said that the agency had to make across-the-board cuts to all the nonprofit agencies it gives money to because of a decrease in donations. In 2000, the United Way of Bucks County raised $3.4 million; in 2003, the amount dropped to $2.9 million.


Majors Kelly The Kelly's assigned to Northern New England 2005

Majors David and Naomi Kelly were appointed Divisional Leaders of the Northern New England Division in August, 2005, after completing two years in their previous appointment as Corps Officers in Old Orchard Beach, Maine.  In their role of Divisional Leaders, they are responsible for all aspects of Salvation Army service in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont.

Both of the Kellys are children of retired Salvation Army officers and each have completed more than twenty-eight years with the organization.  Together, they have served in numerous corps (local church/social service operations) appointments, as well as in divisional staff roles in Cincinnati, Ohio and Hartford, Connecticut.  They have been married for twenty-eight years and have two children, David Eric, a graduate of Gordon College, and Julia, a senior at Biola University.

Major David Kelly is a 1980 graduate of the Salvation Army's School for Officer Training, and has a Master of Arts Degree in Leadership and Ministry.  He previously served on the Territorial Kroc Taskforce which was responsible for the identification of appropriate locations for Kroc Centers in the Eastern Territory.  He presently serves on The Salvation Army's National Legal Commission; a body of six members who make recommendations to national Salvation Army leadership on all legal matters.

Major Naomi Kelly is a graduate of Eastern University with a Bachelor's Degree in Organizational Management.  She has previously served on the Territorial Women Leadership Development Taskforce.

(3) Source:  Salvation Army Northern New England Division website
The Bode's assigned to Massachusetts 2007

On January 1, 2007, Major William Bode was appointed as the Divisional Commander of the Massachusetts Division and Major Joan Bode was appointed the Associate Divisional Commander and Director of Women's Organizations. Together they were installed in a ceremony at Divisional Headquarters on February 18, 2007.Majors Bode

This appointment marks a joyous return to the Division and city the Bode's served for 10 years prior to 2005. During their 30+ years of serving God and the Corps, Majors William and Joan Bode have served as Corps officers in Haverhill, MA, Times Square, Yonkers and Schenectady, NY, and Toledo, OH.

The Majors also studied at The Salvation Army International College for Officers in London and served as educators with the Soldiers National Seminar for Evangelism. The Bode's are also known to be active in Emergency Disaster Services including relief efforts for hurricanes in Puerto Rico, flooding in the Midwest, Ground Zero during 9/11, and the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Their focus for The Salvation Army in Massachusetts is to extend the Kingdom of God in the name of Jesus in the lives of people through all Salvation Army officers, soldiers, employees, volunteers and ministries.

(4) Source:  Salvation Army Massachusetts website

Major Bode responds to "officer housing" perk investigation 2010

On January 3, 2010 the New England Center for Investigative Reporting at Boston University, and the New England Cable News Network produced a report on the housing perk for the Salvation Army's highest ranking officers. 

From 2000 to 2010 the Salvation Army of Massachusetts spent $4 million dollars in procuring homes in wealthy communities for use by its top officers, including a white Colonial in Needham for the charity's state commander at $799,900.

"I think it's (the purchase of homes) an investment that allows us to provide for Salvation Army families who are doing service. We're not throwing money away," said Major William Bode, the Salvation Army Commander for Massachusetts, who lives in the Needham home.  Buying homes in communities  with strong school systems for church officers is standard with the Salvation Army.

"Maybe you would agree with it (the purchase), maybe you wouldn't agree with it. But that was the decision that was made for the Salvation Army," Bode said.  The standard officer compensation package includes a furnished house with all utilities, maintenance and taxes paid by the Salvation Army, as well as a vehicle.

Outright compensation is not high.  For example, Bode estimates the compensation package for him and his wife is worth about $75,000 annually. About $30,000-40,000 is a cash allowance and the remainder the rental value of Bode's home and vehicle. "I could not afford to own my own home with the allowance the Salvation Army gives to me," he said. Note that this is after Bodes worked for the Salvation Army for more than 40 years.

Army officials further explained that funds spent on housing comes from unrestricted gifts-often made in a donor's will - that end up in the Salvation Army's fund reserved for real estate purchases and capital improvements. Bode said the Salvation Army's practice of buying real estate is no different than that of other religions supplying housing for clergy.

(5)Source:  New England Center for Investigative Reporting at Boston University

Major Bode disaffiliates with United Way in Mass 2010

On August 26, 2010 Major William Bode of the Salvation Army called the United Way of Massachusetts Bay & Merrimack Valley President Michael Durkin.  Note that The Salvation Army and the United Way are two of Boston's largest nonprofits, longtime allies and had worked together for over 70 years. Still he informed Mr. Durkin that the Salvation Army had decided to disaffiliate:
  • Turn down United Way's investment this year
  • Withdraw from the corresponding affiliate status. 
The news was unexpected.  United Way announced the "disaffiliation" on its website the next day and stated that they were still interested in maintaining that partnership and exploring other affiliation options with the Salvation Army.  Despite breaking ties with the United Way, the Salvation Army still received $56,000 from donations raised through workplace campaigns by employees who chose to earmark their donations for the Salvation Army.

It was not until the following February (2/25/11) that the details of the split were made public in an interview with the Boston Business Journal.

The Salvation Army said that when it announced the split - no longer wanting United Way support - this was a way of gaining freedom from United Way restrictions and a way to implement its own workplace fundraising strategy. 

Major William Bode, divisional commander, said the Salvation Army has not yet made up the nearly $360,000 it lost in United Way funds, but he never expected it would happen in three or four months. With the busy holiday season over, he said, the Salvation Army, which saw a 3 percent increase in donations last year, will be aggressively soliciting companies, foundations and individuals.

In addition to his overall discontent with about $800,000 in United Way funding cuts over the past 20 years, Bode raised concerns during the meeting.
  1. United Way has a requirement that organizations receiving its funding must report detailed information about other programs, ones the United Way does not support.
  2. United Way marketing materials (Bode said) characterize its support for the Salvation Army as extending into the Merrimack Valley, when the Salvation Army there does not receive United Way funding.
If opportunities arise for the Salvation Army to collaborate with the United Way, Bode said, he is open to it. Yes, he valued the partnership with the United Way - that is, until donations began to decline.

"Are we sorry? I'm not happy that we've come to this conclusion," he said. "But I do believe this is the right decision."

Major Bode celebrates the Kroc Center Opening  April 2011

Years in the making with hundreds of residents and as many meetings to plan it, the Kroc Center stood out as naked land, swept clear of the houses that had been negotiated away to give the Salvation Army clear access to build the center. 

Years passed because the prior fundraiser had reached mandatory retirement age and the Kroc Center came to a halt.  The project was to be funded by an $85 million donation to the Salvation Army from Joan B. Kroc, the widow of McDonald's magnate Ray Kroc, but also required the efforts of local philanthropists to raise about $30 million.

Major William Bode found a critical link in the genius of John P. Hamill, chief executive of Sovereign Bank's New England division, who accepted the role of leading the local fund-raising effort to build the center.  Not enough can be said about the importance of Mr. Hamill's effectiveness.  In gratitude the Salvation Army has highlighted his likeness prominently on the large benefactors board interior to the center.

The praise, however, is mutual.  "Bode was tireless in his efforts. He took on a major project in addition to all the other stuff the Salvation Army does and I think his tenure has been outstanding,'' Hamill said. "We're sorry to lose him."

The $115 million, 90,000-square-foot Kroc Center in Upham's Corner offers the amenities of a first-class health club yet provides traditional social services, such as a food pantry. The April opening was marked by fanfare, a Saturday afternoon of ribbon-cutting speeches and several hours of praise worship with guilded banners that the Salvation Army is known for. 

Membership Fees Criticized

At the same time Bode faced criticism that the Kroc Center membership fees were too high for many residents of the low-income neighborhood where it is located. 

In setting the membership rates for the Kroc Center, the Salvation Army hired consultants to determine the "market" prices they should charge based on the quality of the facilities and the demographics.  Approximately 30% of the memberships are allocated to low-income residents within one square mile and are subsidized through "financial aid."  Even so the rates are not inexpensive.  They certainly are not free, in a neighborhood where many residents expect free services from the City and non-profits.  For example, the Bird Street Youth Center has a membership fee of $5.00 per year and even that is sometimes waived.

On April 2, 2011 at the Kroc Center dedication, Mayor Menino alluded to the perceived inaccessibility of the Kroc Center during his Saturday afternoon remarks. 

I remember talking about the concept throughout the neighborhood.  We kept saying the Kroc Center could make a big difference in the City of Boston.  We [the City] assembled a group of parcels and now the dream has been realized - the dream of having this beautiful community center right here on good old Dudley Street . . . It took a lot of work.  This ultimately can be the oasis of the community here for so many years.

But the key to it is this - all our residents must have the opportunity to come to this community center and enjoy it.  A lot of people stood up and made today happen.  We need to make sure all young people can come here because this is a halo.  There was a lot of pain here in this neighborhood.  The Kroc Center is part of the healing process.  We're going to make sure that every young person can come here and and enjoy this place as much as they want to.  We need to focus on their future - an opportunity for these kids.  They can't be on the outside looking in.  "Why can't I come in?" 

It appears there is a disconnect between what participating area residents, non-profits and City officials expected and what the Salvation Army is able or willing to deliver.  At the same time, the Kroc Center has been open only 2 1/2 months and adjustments are to be expected. They have continued to "roll out" new programs for area residents, many of which are free. 

Thank you to  Majors William and Joan Bode

As of May 31, 2011 there have been three murders in Upham's Corner since the begining of the year - one on Groom Street, one on Trull Street and one on Humphreys Street.  Two of the youth murdered were Cape Verdean.  Two of the murders occurred less than 1/4 mile from the Kroc Center.

Recently the VIP Coalition began holding meetings for mothers who have lost children to violence, many of them Cape Verdean.  Reports are that it is making a terrific difference, establishing a place where people with common suffering can come for comfort and healing.  The attendees are beginning to bond and look out for each other.

It is no accident that the site chosen for the meetings was the Kroc Center with its fundamental holistic attitude of body, mind and soul.

It's easy for people to balk at enrollment and membership fees.  After all, who wants to pay for anything if they can get it for free?  What we forget is how much the Upham's Corner neighborhood, more particularly, North Dorchester on the west side of the tracks, has benefitted from the Kroc Center. 

Do we understand and appreciate or do we take for granted the opportunities available in a healthy and safe community center?  A requirement to pay for services has its blessings.  We are challenged to set priorities - like health over the many other options fordiscretionary spending in our consumerist society.

(8)The Kroc Center Dedication and Photos

We thank Majors William and Joan Bode for their incredible work in setting the stage for this remarkable community center.  It is also clear that they are going with energy and joy to their new calling, for that is the way of the faithful within the Salvation Army.

Majors ReelThe Reel's Retiring June 2011

Majors Robert and Lynette Reel are hands-on leaders.  As co-bishops of The Salvation Army's Western Pennsylvania Division, you may find them manning kettles in the cold; feeding the homeless at a community dinner; or shopping with children for new coats through Project Bundle-Up. This couple forged their career and calling on the streets, not behind a desk.  Now, after 42 years, they are about to embark upon a new adventure - retirement.

Robert J. Reel was born and raised in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania where he met and wed his bride of 47 years, Major Lynette Reel.  Together, they have diligently worked side-by-side serving those in need with a Christ-centered passion. The Reels entered The Salvation Army's School for Officer Training (Seminary) in the Bronx in New York in 1970.  Upon graduation they were jointly commissioned as officers and ordained ministers.

During their hectic schedules, the Reels managed to earn degrees and honors. Robert attended Eastern College and theological Seminary in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, earning a B. S. in Business Management with concentrated studies in organizational and church management.  He graduated with honors and was accepted in the Delta Mu Delta Society for Outstanding Business Students.  Lynette was also busy with her studies, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Management and a Servant Leader Award from Eastern College of St. David's, PA.
"Lynette and I have made Western Pennsylvania our home," said Major Robert Reel.  "We love this area and its people.  The generosity and support that we have received here has been overwhelming.  It is going to be very hard to leave. We pray God's blessings on the good people of Western Pennsylvania." The Reels will be relocating to Lancaster, Pennsylvania.  The newly appointed Salvation Army Western Pennsylvania Divisional leaders are Majors William and Joan Bode.  Currently serving as Divisional leaders in Massachusetts, the Bodes will assume their duties here in early July.

The Three Majors Moving On July 2011

So with the Reel's retiring, the dominoes of change get to move the cast of characters to their new challenges.  The Bode's will be making a trip back to Pennsylvania, this time on the western side and the Kelly's will get to venture to slightly warmer climate here in Boston.

 Majors Reel
Majors Bode Majors Kelly
Majors Robert and Lynette Reel

We wish you the best in retirement!
Majors William and Joan Bode

Thank you & good luck in your new positions!
Majors David and Naomi Kelly

Welcome to Boston!

All References

Salvation Army to leave United Way The Bucks County chapter
The Morning Call - Salvation Army splits off on its own
Majors David and Naomi Kelly were appointed Divisional Leaders of the Northern New England Division
Majors William and Joan Bode assigned to Massachusetts Division
New England Center for Investigative Reporting at Boston University - Housing for Officers
United Way Disaffiliation with Salvation Army Announced
Salvation Army discusses split with United Way
Upham's Corner News covers:  The Kroc Center Dedication and Photos
Majors Robert and Lynette Reel Retire

Boston Globe:  Salvation Army leader leaving for new post

Mass Nonprofit:  David Kelly to be New Leader of Massachusetts Salvation Army


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Posted: June 12, 2011     Nancy J Conrad


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