Jay and Sherrie Deaton, both Salvation Army captains, hope to emphasize youth activities with some help and advice from their daughters, Victoria, 13, and Mariah, 11.
Coming from Fort Myers, the Deaton clan arrived several weeks ago at the Ridge Road headquarters to succeed Majors Alejandro and Nelinda Castillo. The Castillos, who had led the Pasco corps since July 2010, transferred to the denomination's Tampa regional office.
Salvation Army's mission is "Christianity with the sleeves rolled up," Jay Deaton said.
"We are an open-arms church," Deaton emphasized. He will promote awareness of the many community programs the Pasco Corps supports. The red-kettle campaign before Christmas helps raise the bulk of donations to support numerous causes.
Jeanne Coulter, manager of the Salvation Army Center of Hope, on Washington Street, helps provide needy residents meals and runs a food pantry. Holiday food drives make sure families have enough to eat on Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Lynn Needs is director of the Salvation Army domestic violence program, which operates a shelter for victims.
Bobby Riordan is Salvation Army's community center manager and the sports league director. He keeps quite busy during the summer camp, which has several more weeks to go while signing up players for the youth football league this fall.
Youth activities resonate with the couple, since their daughters are active in Salvation Army programs, Sherrie Deaton said. Music and sports keep youths busy so they can avoid temptation, she fervently believes.
Victoria is teaching an art class. Mariah is learning piano as part of the new School of Music initiative. The Deatons hope to make a wide range of music lessons available to youngsters by this fall.
In the meantime, excitement is building for the summer camp talent showcase, to be held Aug. 7.
Plans are taking shape for a new event in October, a Fall Family Fun Day, as a benefit for the domestic violence program. A concert is part of the plans.
One of Jay's favorite biblical quotes comes from 1st Corinthians: "Let nothing move you . because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain." The quote is enshrined on a plaque on his office desk under the heading, "Stand Firm."
A retired 35-year master electrician, Jay Deaton acknowledges falling prey to about all of the excesses while touring with a Southern rock band, Wild Oats. The group's name was an apt description, he recalled. Then he repented and dedicated himself to Christianity on Dec. 24, 1991.
"Shortly after his conversion, the Lord brought Sherrie, his soul mate, into his life," according to Deaton's biography. Jay and Sherrie felt a call to full-time ministry early in their marriage, first as mission specialists and now as Salvation Army officers. Jay loves serving the Lord, playing music, and spending time with his family and friends.
"Sherrie Deaton is blessed to be Jay's wife for the past 20 years and mother to their daughters," the biography continues. They first came to the Fort Myers Corps in 2003.
"Sherrie is passionate about teaching God's Word and helping others become all that God has called them to be. She enjoys nature walks, popcorn movie nights with her family, and quality time with friends and family."
In addition to horses and art, Victoria likes to read, draw, write stories, and has a pet cockatiel. She also enjoys working with small children.
Mariah enjoys making new friends and is fond of horses, adventures, and reading.