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Officer candidate interns at Jeannette Salvation Army

| Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Margie Stanislaw | The Jeannette Spirit
Cadet Michele Watt is at work in the front office of the Salvation Army. She is completing a summer internship while attending The Salvation Army School for Officer Training.

The Salvation Army on Clay Avenue Extension has welcomed a cadet this summer from the Salvation Army School for Officer Training for the country's eastern territory located in Suffern, N.Y., about 30 minutes outside of Manhattan.

Cadet Michele Watt, originally from Greenville, Pa., is only the second cadet to intern at the Jeannette Salvation Army under Major Kathleen Waddell since her appointment to the Jeannette Corps in 2006.

“I was born and raised in the Salvation Army and have known this is where God wanted me to be since I was an early teen. If you don't do what God wants you to do, you're not content,” said Watt.

Watt spent several years of her life not being content, as she was in the Air Force for three years following her graduation from Greenville High School. During that time she was stationed at Wright Patterson and Colorado Springs.

She worked in personnel systems management where she managed computer systems and updates.

After leaving the Air Force, Watt was a truck driver for 10 years and worked for both Waste Management and Flynn Tires. During those years, whenever she was unemployed she worked for the Salvation Army. She worked in youth ministries and assisted with youth programming.

Watt worked in youth ministry for three years at a corps in Chillicothe, Ohio.

“I would feel God call and go get another job,” said Watt. “Eventually a friend of mine asked, ‘Can you see yourself doing anything else?' I thought about that, and when I imagined what I would do, the Salvation Army was vividly in it.”

After that conversation, Watt started the process to begin officers training which included obtaining her high school transcripts and getting an extremely in-depth physical. She was accepted into the training school and has completed one year of a two-year training program.

Upon completion, Watt will have earned an associate's degree in applied science.

“It is actually a college,” said Watt. “We will have a degree in applied science and be ordained.”

Watt will be commissioned as a lieutenant and ordained as a minister in June 2014.

During her time in Jeannette, she assists Waddell with church services and with regular corps business that will include attending meetings, helping people who need assistance with various problems from being unable to pay for their medication too not having enough food, and participating in the summer community picnic and vacation Bible school.

Watt, like other college interns, will submit weekly reports about her experiences and documenting her reflections.

Watt loves the outdoors and is an avid camper. After she completes her internship she is planning a camping trip to Pymatuning before she returns to school.

“I look forward to beginning the ministry,” said Watt. “I want to be out there doing what needs doing. I want to definitely stay in a corps. Some people want jobs at headquarters or the missions, but I don't feel called to do that. I want to be in the ministry.”

The Salvation Army is first a church and then a social service agency.

The Jeannette Salvation Army is located at 1100 Clay Ave. Ext. and has weekly Sunday services, and programming throughout the week which includes a music school, children's activities and women's ministry.

The corps is also a food distribution pantry for the Westmoreland Food Bank on the last Friday of every month and provides other social services to the community. For more information, contact Waddell at 724-523-3120. Office hours are Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Margie Stanislaw is a contributing writer.