The Salvation Army is ‘in my blood,’ says board member Schweizer
Andy Schweizer has been eating, sleeping and breathing The Salvation Army for half a century.
He started as a Salvation Army band member at age 6. Today, the 56-year-old serves on the property committee for The Salvation Army’s Twin Cities advisory board, and as council chair for The Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Center in Minneapolis.
“I help stretch the money we use,” Schweizer said. “This allows The Salvation Army to spend less money on operations and spend more on the community.”
Schweizer is a shrewd businessman. He is president of the property management company Wheelhouse Capital, and for 30 years he and his brother owned and operated two solid-waste companies with 60 trucks each.
He discovered the garbage business decades ago through a Salvation Army church member who convinced Schweizer and his brother to try driving a garbage route.
“From that, my brother started a garbage company and talked me into joining him,” Schweizer recalled. “The rest is history.”
Through all his years of building companies from the ground up, Schweizer has never stopped being involved with The Salvation Army. He has spent his entire life performing music in Salvation Army bands and singing in Salvation Army choirs. To this day, he still does both.
His connection to The Salvation Army stems from his father, who got hooked at a young age.
“My dad found The Salvation Army when he lived in the ghettos of Chicago,” Schweizer said. “One day, while he was walking down the sidewalk, he heard music coming from a Salvation Army building. A young Salvation Army officer walked outside and asked, ‘Young man, would you like to learn to play a horn?’ My dad replied, ‘Boy, would I!’”
His father went on to marry a Salvation Army officer (administrator and pastor), and become one himself.
Similarly, Schweizer’s wife, Brenda, also grew up in The Salvation Army. Her father, John Grambush, served on the Twin Cities Salvation Army advisory board for 20 years, retiring from it just before Schweizer joined in 2015.
“He invited me to take his spot,” Schweizer said. “I felt an obligation to continue our family history. I felt like I had the perfect history for it.”
Schweizer is likely to continue serving The Salvation Army for the rest of his life.
“The Salvation Army is in my blood,” he said.