Northern Division: Serving every county in Minnesota and North Dakota
Racks of clothes at a Salvation Army Store

2017 Lifetime Volunteer winner: Ronald Newman

Added on Monday, May 15, 2017

Ronald Newman started volunteering with the Austin Salvation Army in 1970. Newman was born hearing impaired and grew up with The Salvation Army.

Ronald and his five siblings were raised by his mother. His mom never drove, but made sure the family attended church at The Salvation Army because even back then the Army provided transportation for free.

Ronald was particularly close to his older brother. The two were inseparable, not only as kids but as adults and volunteers too. They were brothers and best friends.

The Newman brothers started volunteering at The Salvation Army as teenagers. Ronald enjoyed it from the start and volunteered up to 40 hours per week. He helps sort incoming store donations, assisted with pricing the items, bagging and even picking up the donations with his brother on behalf of the store. Ronald increased his volunteer time to 50 hours per week, working Monday through Thursday and Saturdays. Fridays he saves for his day off.

For as long as anyone can remember, the Newman brothers have always taken Fridays off. Their streak ended, however, when Ronald’s brother passed away in 2015.

The Salvation Army mourned his passing and everybody was concerned about how Ronald would take it. After all, not only did he lose his brother, he lost his best friend. But Ronald managed to keep his weekly schedule and continues to volunteer, despite his loss.

Ronald’s brother used to drive him in everyday, but now Ronald commutes by scooter – that tops out at seven miles an hour – fortunately he only lives four miles from the store. Ronald knows all of the regular customers at the store, and if he’s not there to greet them, they inquire about his whereabouts. For nearly 50 years he has graced the store with his generous gift of time. Thank you Ronald Newman for your service to The Salvation Army and congratulations on earning and winning the lifetime achievement award.