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Jim Daly cooks hot lunches

Disaster volunteer Daly wins humanitarian award

Added on Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Longtime Salvation Army disaster volunteer Jim Daly has won the 2018 Humanitarian Award from the University of St. Thomas. For 60 years the award has honored “the extraordinary contributions that members of the St. Thomas community have made to the university and the wider community” (read press release).

Daly has been volunteering for The Salvation Army for nearly 20 years. In addition to helping at local disasters, the retired Lieutenant with the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Department has served at some of the highest-profile disasters in American history, including 9/11 and the 35W bridge collapse (read about his tours of duty).

Daly’s main job as a disaster volunteer is to serve hot meals, drinks and snacks to Twin Cities first responders at house fires, police calls, and other emergencies. He is on-call 24/7 and often gets deployed in the middle of the night.

Daly views disaster work as “a ministry of presence,” he said. “It’s not so much that I’m handing you a hot dog – it’s the fact that I care enough to be there at 2 a.m. to hand you a hot dog.”

Daly is widely recognized as one of the most valuable Salvation Army disaster volunteers in the U.S. He is often called upon to lead large teams of volunteers in cities across the country following tornadoes, floods and other calamities (read about his recent trip to Missouri and Illinois).

The Salvation Army views Daly as a volunteer superstar, yet he remains humble: “I’ve already done the life-or-death stuff as a police officer – this is much easier,” he said with a smile.

Daly graduated from St. Thomas in 1969 with a degree in sociology.


St. Thomas celebrated Daly’s accomplishments by filming the following video:

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