New Salvation Army officers look forward to small-town community

After Rosie and Jon Tollerud of the Salvation Army left Wrangell for Fairbanks last month, two new officers moved to town to take their place.

Lieutenants Belle and Chase Green and their two children, KellyGrace, 3, and Ollivander, 1, arrived in Wrangell on June 20 and have been settling into their new home for the past few weeks. The couple looks forward to getting to know the community and to serving in Alaska, where they were both raised.

Moving to Wrangell was "like being back at home," Chase said. "We allow our kids to grow up where we grew up. It's awesome." Chase was raised in Anchorage; Belle was raised by Salvation Army officers, so she moved around a lot as a child but spent much of her youth in Haines, Sitka and Fairbanks. "I call Southeast home," she said. "That's where I spent six years of my childhood ... where you become who you are."

The pair moved from Bellingham, Washington, where they were previously stationed.

Belle is well-versed in the idiosyncrasies of small-town life, but for Chase, Wrangell will be the smallest community he has ever lived in. Despite being a self-professed city dweller, he believes that "a place is only as good as the people you know in it."

His previous homes in Phoenix, Palm Springs, California, and Anchorage may have had Starbucks and 24-hour Uber Eats delivery service, but "you can't be the community, the family that you make in a small town like this," he said. "It's really awesome when you go outside here in Wrangell and the kids are together and they're riding their bikes and they're walking down the street knowing that everyone can be trusted here."

The tight-knit, family-oriented community is ideal for this stage of their life, Belle said. "I've been looking into programs to get our kiddos into to start building up that friend base," she added. "We really want to build some deep roots here. Not just in our work, but in our personal family."

The Greens already have ties to Wrangell - one of the community's previous Salvation Army officers, Lt. Jon Tollerud, is Chase's cousin. In fact, Chase's was nicknamed "mini-Jon" for following in his cousin's footsteps.

The Tolleruds moved to Fairbanks on June 24 after a three-and-a-half-year ministry in town. Salvation Army officers typically move after one year, but sometimes their tenure in a community can last up to five.

The longest that the Greens have ever been stationed in one place is roughly two years.

In Wrangell, the pair hopes to offer programming that will cater to the community's young children. "We really want to dive into opportunities just to get ... more events for kids in the community to be a part of," said Chase. "Especially toddler age groups and pre-K age groups. So we really want to provide different opportunities for parents and their littles to grow closer together."

They're also interested in setting up recovery programs for people who may be grappling with substance abuse issues, illness, anger or grief. The pair takes an expansive view of what the term "recovery" might mean. "We're all recovering from something at some point in our life," Chase added. "It could be anything."

They also look forward to collaborating with the Wrangell Ministerial Association, building interfaith ties and working together to meet the town's needs. "We want to really complement what's already going around and going on," Belle said. "It's not just what the other churches are doing but what the city is doing. ... We don't want to take away from any of that, but to add what we can to enrich the community, whether that be, eventually, a pre-K program or a Salvation Army recovery program or something completely different. ... We're open and just wanting to fill any gaps that we feel God is calling us to."

When he isn't working, Chase likes to cook delicious meals, play video games, watch sports - the Dallas Cowboys are the Lord's football team, he said - and learn new languages using the skills he picked up studying linguistics in college.

Belle enjoys crafts of all kinds, including drawing, painting, writing, crocheting and playing piano. In addition to being an avid reader and board game player, she likes to return home from strolls on the beach with her pockets full of beautiful rocks and sea glass pieces.

"We're just excited to be here," she said. "We're excited to do ministering in Wrangell and raise our family here. ... We can't wait to see where God leads us in the community."


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