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The Rolla Daily News - Rolla, MO
  • Salvation Army unites belongings with unexpected owners

  • Everyone has heard the old adage that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Pam Lucas knows this firsthand.
    Manager of Rolla’s Salvation Army, Lucas has been astounded by the unique reunions she has witnessed in the store.
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  • Everyone has heard the old adage that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Pam Lucas knows this firsthand.
    Manager of Rolla’s Salvation Army, Lucas has been astounded by the unique reunions she has witnessed in the store.
    From old books to figurines, she has been amazed by the number of customers who have found old reminders of their past.
    In fact, one local woman recently was shopping when she came across a souvenir from her college days. She could not believe it when she spotted a mosaic tabletop with unforgettable symbols.
    Lucas explained that the woman approached her to buy the tabletop and explained that it had to be hers because of its design.
    “She said that in college the professor gave them an assignment to create a design that represented their religion without a cross,” Lucas recalled. “The shopper said that she created a tabletop with a fish and other designs that she didn’t know until later actually had symbolism in her religion. The lady could not believe that she found the tabletop after all of these years.”
    The woman said that she has no idea where the tabletop went or how it ended up back in Rolla years later.
    Of course, the woman had no problem paying the $3 for the stepping stone that she created years ago.
    Another man found a book that belonged to a deceased grandfather who had left his name penned in the inside cover of the book.  
    “The man said that he picked the book up because it looked old. He couldn’t believe when he recognized the name inside,” Lucas said.
    “It’s just crazy what people find sometimes,” Lucas said. “One day one man found a medical bag that belonged to his great uncle years ago, and another woman found a wedding announcement from a cousin who lived in Kansas City.”
    Reuniting items with relatives is just one reason Lucas said she loves her job at the local Salvation Army.
    “You just never know what is going to come through the door,” she said.
    From second-hand jeans to figurines, there is no limit to what you might find in the Salvation Army. Where else can one buy an intact computer desk for $7 or a complete set of dishes for $4?
    Recently the Salvation Army showcased several antique radios, a record player, antique dishes, a wide variety of wedding dresses and countless books.
    One shopper said that recently she even found a Tiffany bowl worth at least $60 and paid $3 for the dish.
    “We are Rolla’s best-kept secret,” Lucas said. “I don’t think people know what they might find in here.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Not only does the thrift store offer an inexpensive alternative place to shop for local families, but all profits are donated back to the local community.
    Linda Wells, who has been an employee of Salvation Army for four years, explained that she loves her job because it is more than work, but it is a ministry.
    “I love working here because we get to encourage others, raise money to help needy families and help people find just what they are looking for,” Wells said.
    Wells, too, has witnessed shoppers discover unbelievable items. She said that once she spotted a shopper walking around the store, clutching a dish. When she asked the woman if she could put it behind the counter, the woman told her that she was buying it for her friend who had lost her job. The shopper said that the dish was rare and her friend collected them, so she knew it would be the perfect gift for her friend to uplift her spirits.
    Wells added that nearly every day someone brings an item to the counter, explaining that it reminds them of one of their relatives or a childhood memory.
    “We see God at work here all of the time,” Wells said.
    All proceeds from the store go to pay for the store itself, and the rest of the profits go back into Phelps County.
    In addition to providing goods and money to those in need from the store’s benevolence office, every Thanksgiving the Salvation Army donates baskets of foods to local families.
    The store also hires community members with special needs so that they can improve their work skills. In fact, one employee recently was gainfully employed after getting experience at the Salvation Army.
    If you would like to donate any items to Salvation Army or would like to shop at the second-hand store, it is located at 102 East Fourth St. in Rolla.
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