Story of Soapy Smith, the gunslinger, part of Salvation Army Week

By W. WINSTON SKINNER There is a gunslinger from Coweta County whose final days have a link with the Salvation Army. The story about Soapy Smith’s death and the Salvation Army’s involvement with the saloon keeper and outlaw will be shared during this week’s Salvation Army Week observance at the Newnan Service Center of the Salvation Army.
Jefferson Randolph “Soapy” Smith II was born to a prominent Coweta family in 1860 and was shot to death in Skagway, Alaska in 1898. The local center is celebrating Salvation Army Week — May 9-14 — with a variety of activities. On Thursday, Majors Larry and Evelyn Repass, retired Salvation Army officers, will be at the store to answer questions about the Army and its history. In addition to the stories about Soapy Smith, the Repasses will share why did baseball hero Ted Williams hold a grudge against the Salvation Army and why Denzel Washington often volunteers his support for the organization. The majors, who also are available any time for spiritual counseling, will also share the Christian doctrines of the Salvation Army. Local citizens are encouraged to bring their own questions Thursday. Stephanie May, the center director, said a booth will be set up in the store for the Thursday project. May said the event will be “a neat way the community could learn about our history and what we actually do.” Other events planned for Salvation Army Week include: • Monday. A sidewalk sale will offer clothes, shoes and other items at bargain prices. Thrift store sales help fund the Army’s outreach in the community. • Tuesday. “We will be hosting a pet adoption from 11 a.m.-3 p.m.,” May said. She said the event will offer an opportunity to “find the perfect family pet.” • Wednesday. An outdoor fun day will be held from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. There will be “games and fun events for your children,” May said. Wednesday will also be Senior Citizens Day. • Friday. Visitors to the store will have an opportunity “meet our family members and friends who volunteer for us,” May said. • Saturday. Donor Appreciation Day. Everyone who brings a donation that day will receive a savings card. Bette Hickman, co-chairman of the local Salvation Army advisory board, said May has “good ideas” and has planned “a wonderful week” of activities. May said she thinks Salvation Army Week will be “a lot of fun” for everyone who participates. “I want it to be a big success,” she said. The local service center has a canteen vehicle, which can be used in emergencies. The canteen was dispatched to Cartersville on April 28 — following damage from tornadoes. The canteen had just been spruced up and had some repairs made. May said she was glad “our brand new canteen” could go to Cartersville “responding to the disaster up there.”

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