(above) Sharon Wynne with photos of all the divisional leaders she has worked with over her almost 55 years of service
When Sharon Wynne was 14, she visited The Salvation Army’s divisional headquarters in downtown Winnipeg, where she bumped into Lt-Colonel Arthur Moulton, then divisional commander.
“I told him, ‘I plan to work here one day!’ ” she smiles now.
True to her promise, Sharon indeed started work at divisional headquarters on November 6, 1967—and she’s still at her post almost 55 years later.
Sharon is the executive assistant (“Back then, it was called secretary,” she says) to the divisional commander and the divisional director of women’s ministries. It’s the only position she has ever held.
“I might as well start and finish here,” she says.
Sharon has now worked with 15 divisional commanders
“Every one of them has been wonderful to work with and every one of them has made an impact on my life,” she states.
“Unique for me is the fact I started employment with The Salvation Army with Brigadier Basil Meakings. Five divisional commanders later, I worked for his son, Lt-Colonel Bram Meakings, and I am now working with Brigadier Meakings’ granddaughter, Lt-Colonel Lynn Armstrong. How cool is that?”
One Position, 15 Jobs
Over the course of her decades-long career, Sharon has graduated from manual typewriters to personal computers, which she has done with efficiency and aplomb. But she feels the true secret to her success is how she has worked with successive bosses.
“When a new divisional commander starts, I’m careful not to say, ‘We did it this way,’ ” she explains. “I treat every appointment like it’s my first day on the job, because it’s a new officer. They have their own style of leading, so I observe and try to fit into their style of leadership. In many ways, I feel as if I have had 15 different jobs. I haven’t had a problem with anyone, and hopefully they didn’t with me.”
With such an impressive resumé, Sharon could have parlayed her experience anywhere in the secular world. Why was the Army where she was meant to be?
“I love The Salvation Army,” she replies. “It’s in my blood, which I think is yellow, red and blue!”
Sharon was born into the Army; her grandparents and parents were Salvationists and, from the time that she became a soldier at the age of 14, she knew that the Army was for her.
“It just came naturally. And working in a Salvation Army atmosphere has meant a lot to me,” she continues. “It has helped in my own Christian growth and in my witness to those who may not be people of faith. I’ve always tried to live my life the way I feel a Christian should live.
“I could have changed jobs over the years, but I’m so content,” she says. “I love Mondays, and I look forward to coming in to work, even after having been on vacation. I’m just happy here.”
What the Future Holds
Sharon and her husband, Ted, have three children, two of whom are Salvation Army officers. Soldiers themselves, they attend Heritage Park Temple in Winnipeg.
Their youngest daughter, Captain Jaclyn Wynne, was commissioned in June 2011 and is now ministering in the Prairie Division at Estevan Community Church—Circuit with Weyburn, Sask., while their oldest daughter, Lieutenant Linda Kean, was commissioned this past June after serving as an auxiliary-captain with her husband, Major Byron, in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, N.L., where they are still.
“Our son, John, lives in Winnipeg and is always there when we need him,” Sharon says.
This past June, Sharon and Ted celebrated 54 years of marriage.
“Ted was and is always supportive of my desire to continue working for The Salvation Army,” she says. “Without his love and support, I likely would not be working here today.”
Sharon has no plans to retire any time soon.
“I don’t know what the future holds for me,” she goes on to say, “but I do know who holds the future, and this resonates with Jeremiah 29:11, my favourite Bible verse.”