Retired general, Vicksburg native gives back to the Salvation Army

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 4, 2015

For Retired Brig. Gen. Robert Crear, giving back to the Salvation Army is personal.

Crear received his first bicycle from the Salvation Army, and he agrees that to whom much is given, much is required.

“I was probably the happiest kid even though it was a used bicycle,” he said. “The Salvation Army has touched so many lives and continues to do so today.”

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Crear said he feels a desire to support them in any way he can.

When Crear came back to Vicksburg in 1998 to command the Vicksburg District Army Corps of Engineers, one of the programs they supported every year was the Angel Tree program.

The Salvation Army asked him and Crear said he agreed it was a great program.

“The number they had back then was about 75, so we pushed for 100,” he said. “The next year we moved it to 150. It was just a great opportunity to help people who needed help.”

The last year Crear was there, the district adopted 200 angels.

“With my background, I knew firsthand whatever they do goes directly to the people who are in need in the community,” he said.

When Crear came back as a general and commander of the Valley Corps of Engineers, they were already doing the distribution and the sorting for the Angel Tree program.

Crear said now that he is retired he serves on the board for the Salvation Army, supporting programs like the Lego League robotic competition.

“I’m glad to be a part of that and to be a mentor and to help with the discipline and with their speaking abilities,” he said. “It’s an amazing thing.”

Crear said he feels blessed to be in a position that he is able to give back.

“I don’t think enough people know the good that they do and the goodness in the hearts of the captains they bring in to be in charge,” he said. “I wish more people knew that. I think more people would be out there supporting them in any way they can.”

Crear said the work the Salvation Army does will pay dividends because it leads to more children staying in school and less children ending up in the criminal justice system.

“It’s all worthwhile,” he said. “A little help goes a long way, and I think I’m living proof of that.”

To donate to the Salvation Army, send a check to 530 Mission 66, Vicksburg, MS 39183, or to make a donation online, visit

The Salvation Army also accepts donations of clothing, shoes and furniture to sell in its thrift store. Old, unusable clothing goes into bales, which the Salvation Army is able to sell as well.