FAIRMONT - There are new faces offering helping hands at Fairmont's Salvation Army.
Majors Dale and JoAnn Hixenbaugh have taken the reins after being transferred from Manistee, Mich. They replace Capts. Jeff and Mikey Carter, who relocated to Iowa last month.
"We [are] excited to have a Walmart," Dale said. "Before, we had to travel 30 miles to get to a Walmart. We [are] also happy to see several eating establishments."
Dale and JoAnn Hixenbaugh
"And a movie theater," added JoAnn. "And the people have been very nice here. They're willing to explain directions and where things are."
"We must have that 'new and lost' look," Dale joked.
The Hixenbaughs have served at numerous locations for the Salvation Army for the past 28 years.
"In the beginning, the stays were short, only about four or five years," Dale explained. "After a while, they learned that many [leaders] were leaving too soon, so it changed. But a lot of times assignments are made according to need. If someone retires or is ill, then they need to match the officers and skills to the community."
Along with Michigan, the couple have been stationed in Council Bluffs, Iowa; Kearney, Neb.; Rushville, Ind.; and Huron, S.D., to name a few.
The couple has three grown children who also serve at Salvation Army stations throughout the Upper Midwest.
While the Hixenbaughs are getting used to their new city, they are preparing for all the programs in which the local Salvation Army has a role.
"The 'Back to School' program for school supplies starts next month," JoAnn said. "There's also the summer lunch program that comes back here after summer school is done.
"Now it's just learning the ropes and little things that are different here," Dale said.