The new captains at the Salvation Army have rolled up their sleeves and are hitting the ground running. And Renton has rolled out the red carpet to welcome them.
Captains Christopher and Lisa Aird and their four children — Kayla (11), Ryan (9) and twins Jenna and Rebecca (6) — arrived just a little over a month ago when they were reassigned to the Renton Corps after making their home in Roseville, Calif. for four years. They who were reassigned to El Cajon Corps, near San Diego.
Capt. Chris sat down for a latte with me and shared his vision for the Renton Corps.
“We plan to build on what the Masangos did so well,” said Aird. He’d like to continue expanding the kids after-school program (BOOST, which stands for “Best Out Of School Time”), and add another day to the community supper program for starters, which has grown by leaps and bounds.
Aird wants to expand the BOOST program that gives music lessons to kids after school and cited research that shows students in such programs do better in school. Aird is a trumpet player himself and has a lifelong love of music.
Both Captains are interested in service clubs in Renton. Chris has been attending meetings at the invitation of current member, Denny Hamilton, who also attends the Army church.
Lisa is interested in the Soroptimist Club. Lisa also is planning to work with youth programs at the Corps. Chris said that Lisa’s main concentration is, of course, being a mother, but also was quick to point out that she is an ordained pastor and calls her “my better half, my rock, my strength.”
The Airds have known each other since 1987. They went through officer training school in Crestmont - College For Officer's Training in 2007.
Chris’ background is in Ministry and Christian Leadership from Nazarene Bible College. But in addition to that he spent six years in the Navy.
With parents as pastors, his evolution to this might seem natural, but Aird took a little bit of a circuitous route to get there with the stint in the Navy, but said that he knew that he was going to be a Salvation Army pastor since he was a fairly young child.
Aird has a calming presence and a lively sense of humor. Julie Hamilton who attends Bible Study at the Church gives him high praise for his Bible Studies and also his first few sermons.
Of the relocation, Aird said, “I have an overwhelming faith that God knows best.” His family is settling into their new home — and although not completely unpacked yet — getting to know Renton and the surrounding area. The Airds are actively looking at options for schools for their children.
This philosophy helped him through a tough period two years ago when a seemingly benign lump in his throat was diagnosed as thyroid cancer. And, to further test him, he was given doctors orders to not participate in all of the activities during Christmas — the Salvation Army’s busiest time of the year. That was a tough prescription to follow. Aird is now cancer-free.
Aird is quickly learning his way around Renton—and was proud to make his way to sans GPS to meet the mayor a few weeks ago.
“Everyone in Renton has been wonderful and welcoming,” he said.
Take some time to get to know the Airds. I’m glad I did.