photo: fred lopez
Ages: Will, 36; Veronica, 25
Connected: The Conleys met more than two years ago, via a mutual friend, and from Facebook as Salvation Army cadets. They were commissioned and ordained in the Salvation Army on June 5, and married June 7. They now oversee the Salvation Army of Lake and Sumter counties at 2605 South St., Leesburg.
TIME OF FIRSTS (William): For me this is incredible to be in the ministry with my best friend, and there really is nothing better than that. It’s a huge learning curve, because everything we are doing right now is a first. Being newly married we are learning how to live together, we are learning how to be in ministry together. Each day is brand new.
NEW CHALLENGE (Veronica): We wear so many hats as officers in the Salvation Army. We love the people; they’ve welcomed us with open arms. There’s a homey feeling here.
SERVING CLIENTS (William): There are 300 people we make contact with each week. (Veronica): This is a place where people can feel safe. We have people who come for breakfast, and throughout the day our social services workers take assessments for utilities, food, and Christmas applications. We have kids who come in for tutoring, and on Mondays and Thursdays we have men’s basketball.
PASSION FOR SALVATION ARMY (Veronica): I was introduced to the Salvation Army’s programs around 6 when my family was in poverty and my parents were drug addicts.
(William): I’ve been with the Salvation Army for five years now, and came through a drug and alcohol rehabilitation program…I was living on the streets and saw the red shield at this lowest point in my life. I didn’t know what else to do and they took me in. That’s how I met the Salvation Army, found the Lord, and began this journey.
GREATEST MIRACLE (William): For me it’s the fact that I wake up every day and I don’t have a desire to drink or use drugs. From ages 18 to 30, it was hard drugs on a daily basis. I am proof there is hope.
FAVORITE QUOTE (Veronica): “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter.”
(William): “Be the change that you want to see in the world.”