‘Austin will be blessed’: Salvation Army Capt. Dave and Laura Amick to head off to Illinois

Published 11:29 am Saturday, January 26, 2019

After serving almost eight years in Austin, The Salvation Army captains are headed off to Illinois at the end of the month.

The last few days have been busy ones for Capts. Dave and Laura Amick. Packing up whatever they accumulated during the last seven and a half years into boxes, this would be the final weekend that the two officers would spend in Austin. Their next assignment awaits in Illinois, a familiar stomping ground for both of them.

“We don’t know why we’re there until we’re there,” Laura said. “Who knows, it might be because they needed us, or it might be something for us too. …God works in mysterious ways.”

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Being chosen to move to another state didn’t come as a complete shock for the Amicks. Rather, the average amount of time an officer spends in a single location is between four to six years. Yet, this move brought another wave of excitement (and some nerves) for the couple.

“Austin, the community as a whole, has been phenomenal,” Dave said. “This place has been home to us. We’re obviously going to come back and visit friends and family. …Austin has been great to us.”

Salvation Army Capt. David Amick receives two checks from Norm Hecimovich totalling $400 from the Austin Shriners Club and Austin Oriental Band Friday night, kicking off the annual kettle drive. Herald file photo

A calling and a blessing

Dave and Laura have been a part of The Salvation Army for majority of their lives. Dave has five generations of family serve in some capacity of leadership within the nonprofit’s ranks, while Laura grew up attending church every Sunday with The Salvation Army.

The two had found each other, fell in love and got married. Having lived a life where there was constant travel and moving around, the Amicks were hesitant at first to commit to serving in the Salvation Army as officers when they had young children.

“We had 11 years invested into retirement and we had good jobs,” Dave said. “It was really a high risk.”

However, they felt “God’s calling” to become officers and attended a training school that was similar to seminary. Admittedly, going into a new trajectory after having established their lives in other professions (Dave was a truck driver, and Laura worked a number of part-time jobs), going into a completely different kind of ministry was scary at first.

“God had a different plan for us,” Laura said with a smile. “It became such a blessing to us. It’s not the easiest job. …it definitely is a calling.”

Austin was the Amicks first and only assignment as officers in The Salvation Army. Each chapter is planted in a community, and serves in a variety of ways to fit what their town needs. In Austin, their Salvation Army operates a thrift store, and conducts weekly church services. They have meals served to the community who needs it.

“We couldn’t have asked for a better starting place, than Austin,” Laura added. “This place has been home. We were praying when we got assigned, and we have been very blessed.”

Sometimes, these experiences posed as challenges to the Amicks, but they accepted and met those challenges with the intent to grow and to serve the Austin community.

“My favorite aspect was just seeing the lives that are changed,” Dave said. “It’s nice to see when you’re helping someone, and you see the look on their face. That look is what makes this work worth it.”

These last few years were learning experiences for both Dave and Laura. They both filled roles such as cooks, bookkeeper and pastor. They also have cleaned as janitors inside the building. Whatever the job, the Amicks took care of what was needed.

Then there were the people that the Amicks helped serve over the years. Each person who walked through the door, had a different story to tell, and taught the captains how to handle various situations in different ways.

“You meet a lot of people,” Laura said. “You meet people who are homeless to people who are looking to get out of a bad situation with a boyfriend. It really could be anything. To me, it never gets boring. You really never know what to expect.”

The last few years have been memorable ones for the officers. Everything from community meals, to running Trunk-or-Treat for children, the Amicks felt that they have learned a wide variety of lessons in leadership that they will bring to their new post in Illinois. While it may be goodbye for now, the Amicks wanted to share their love and appreciation for Austin, and to all the people they have met and helped along the way.

“We wanted to give our sincerest thank you to the community and to our staff,” Laura said. “We would not have made it seven-and-a-half years without the community’s support. Austin should be very proud of itself. The Salvation Army would be nothing without its volunteers and the whole town.”