Salvation Army Kingman Outpost Captain Will Cobb called to World Trade Center site

When the Salvation Army calls, Kingman Outpost Captain Will Cobb listens.

That is the way it has been since Cobb and his wife, Beverly, attended the Salvation Army officer training school back in 1985.

When Cobb received a call from the Salvation Army division office Tuesday telling him to pack his bags and catch a flight to New York, he did just that, leaving on a flight out of Las Vegas early Thursday morning.

"I don't know what to expect, or what I will be doing," Cobb said before he left Kingman.

"My guess is that I will be administering in some way to those working at ground zero, either providing meals for everyone working in the area or counseling people."

Cobb said Salvation Army workers are already on the scene with canteens - mobile kitchen units - to feed the hungry.

Other services provided by the Army are grief and stress counseling as well as spiritual counseling.

"It will probably be a combination of all three," he said.

"We provide support in whatever form is needed and wherever it is needed."

Cobb has some experience in disaster relief.

"I have helped with a few disasters, including the fires in Los Alamos (N.M.) last year and the earthquake in Whittier (Calif.) several years ago, but nothing like this," he said.

It isn't unusual for the Salvation Army to be one of the first to offer assistance in a disaster, he added.

"As soon as the news broke that two of the planes involved in the terrorist attacks were destined for LAX, we had folks there almost immediately to offer assistance," he said.

"We have been there from the beginning (of this disaster) and we are usually there until the end.

It could take up to a year."

Cobb said this experience will be a difficult one, but that he will put himself in God's hands as he has done since deciding to join the Army.

"In the Salvation Army we believe that God calls certain people into full-time special service," Cobb said.

When the Cobbs heard their call to service, Will dealt craps in the "dice pits" of Las Vegas and Beverly was a full-time mom to their 5-year-old daughter, Bettye.

Happy to be accepted, both Beverly and Will attended the Salvation Army officer training school in Southern California in 1985.

They both earned an associate degree in ministry within two years and in 1988 both were ordained and sent to El Paso, Texas, as officers with the rank of lieutenant.

The Cobbs soon learned that spouses share not only their lives, but their jobs as well.

After serving in El Paso for a year they were commissioned to Bullhead City in the summer of 1989 to "open the work," a phrase that means to develop a complete Army program, Cobb said.

The couple did just that.

After purchasing a 1,300-square-foot building with donated money from the community and a loan from Army headquarters, the Cobbs set about organizing the chapel, social service office and a home for themselves.

They also started a "shower program" that was tied in with a work program for anyone who was homeless and wanted to "get themselves together," Cobb said.

The building also housed the administrative offices and a thrift store.

"In 1997 Army divisional commander Olin Hogan said, 'You've done a nice job here.

Now go to Kingman and do the same thing," Cobb said.

The Cobbs have worked to repeat the success of Bullhead City.

They started a thrift store at 317 Beale St.

in 1998.

The building is rented, and all clothes, furniture and household items are donated.

Money earned helps pay for social service programs.

A grant from the Army went toward renting a building at 105 Oak St.

used for Sunday worship service called "The Holiness Meeting," Sunday school, youth programs and women's programs called the "Home League." It also houses the administration office.

A 15,37-square-foot building located at 3535 Highway 66 was purchased from Kyle Inc., the previous owners, about six month ago.

Renovations to turn the former bowling alley into a Salvation Army Kingman outpost are ongoing, Cobb said.

Meanwhile, Cobb will be in New York for two weeks, doing whatever is asked of him.

When he returns to Kingman, Beverly may be asked to go.

"We have a new reality in this country now," he said, before leaving for the airport.

"I don't know exactly what will be asked of me, but I know that God will provide me with what I need to do it."