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Watertown Salvation Army Capt. Evelyn M. Hopping transferring to Oneonta

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For years, Watertown Salvation Army Capt. Evelyn M. Hopping has joked she would be transferred out of state if she performed her job poorly.

But it was her strength in youth program development that has led to her transfer to the Oneonta Salvation Army.

“When I came from Fulton to here, there were no youth programs,” she said. “Oneonta has some already, but when I get down there I’ll find out more of what goes on.”

Capt. Hopping, 53, will replace a retiring captain. She said a captain’s typical stay at a Salvation Army agency is about five years. She has been in Watertown for seven years.

Her last day in Watertown will be June 24, and her first day in Oneonta will be June 27. “I say all the time I love the north country, and I really do,” Capt. Hopping said. “I love the community. I said to my boss, ‘I could retire here.’”

She said she’ll miss the children the most, especially after seeing some of them visit the agency in diapers years ago who now participate in Supper Club and other youth programs. Since Capt. Hopping joined the Watertown Salvation Army, she has also started drop-in centers during school breaks and summer vacation.

As she prepares for children’s summer camp registration and other activities in the coming months, she’ll also be packing for the move. That includes writing a brief on the agency’s programs and services, so incoming Salvation Army officers have a smooth transition.

Capt. Hopping, also an ordained minister in the Salvation Army Church, has been a Salvation Army officer for 12 years, with her first job in Fulton in 2000, where she was a cadet lieutenant. While there, she became a captain before being transferred to Watertown in October 2005. In three more years, she will become a major.

She said she plans to work an additional 14 years, until she turns 67. She said she has devoted her life to God and the Salvation Army.

Her love for the agency stems from when she was a young girl and her father was injured in a car accident in their hometown of Rome. As her family was assisted through hard times, she too has had a desire to help families in need.

“It’s amazing how the need’s increased over the years,” Capt. Hopping said. “Specifically for Watertown, the community support’s also increased greatly. It’s something I’ve never seen in a community, from Thanksgiving a few years ago with all the pie (donations) to all the turkeys this past year.”

As Capt. Hopping readies for the move, so does Lt. Zeb and Lt. Summer Hough. The Houghs will be transferring to Watertown from the Liverpool Salvation Army. They too will leave their current post June 24, and will be in Watertown June 27.

“They’ll carry on the programs and what goes on up here, and I’m sure bring new ideas to the area,” Capt. Hopping said. “He’ll do well in Watertown; it’s my baby, though.”

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