ShareThis Page

McKeesport Salvation Army under new leadership

| Friday, July 4, 2014, 5:03 p.m.
Submitted by McKeesport Salvation Army
Envoys John and Kate Esker are the new officers of the Salvation Army, McKeesport Corps.

McKeesport's Salvation Army Worship and Service Center has new leadership.

Envoys John and Kate Esker began their ministry on June 25, succeeding Majors Sean and Andrea Barton, who resigned after seven years at the center at 821 Walnut St.

“We want to be seen as a beacon of light to people in McKeesport,” John Esker, 33, said this week. “We hope to inspire hope by what we do, by what we offer, by how we carry ourselves.”

He and Kate Esker, 29, took a year off from Salvation Army work after serving in Beaver Falls and Uniontown. “We're wanting to continue what already is in existence,” John Esker said. That includes social services and a food pantry sometimes stretched thin.

“We hope to bolster efforts to get more donations, more donors,” John Esker said. “Social services go hand in hand with counseling. We have to minister to the physical needs as well as the spiritual needs.”

Kate Esker hails from Philadelphia, her husband from the Youngstown, Ohio, area. They and their daughter Cadence, 5, live in White Oak.

“When I was about 4 or 5 years old, my family went to the Salvation Army in Philadelphia for food and clothing, so from a young age, I noticed how they helped people, and I wanted to be able to do that when I grew up,” Kate Esker said in a 2011 interview.

The Eskers met at Valley Forge Christian College, where John Esker earned a Bachelor of Arts degree. Kate completed her Associate of Occupational Studies from the Salvation Army School for Officer's Training.

Their rank in Uniontown was lieutenant.

“It's a complicated thing,” John Esker said. “We stepped out of the work for a year and the Army has a policy. Upon reentry there's a phasing in.”

The couple's experiences are wide ranging, including work with children in after-school programs; service to the elderly; and membership in Rotary and Kiwanis clubs.

A current McKeesport project is the backpack program. Registration begins on Thursday and will be conducted weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon through Aug. 8, with distribution set for Aug. 12 from 9 a.m. to noon.

“Many kids need to know that there is hope and there are causes like The Salvation Army that is in the area,” John Esker said.

More details about the McKeesport center are available by calling 412-673-6627.

Patrick Cloonan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1967, or pcloonan@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.