ALEXANDRIA, Va., July 13, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Commissioners Kenneth G. and Jolene K. Hodder have begun their tenure leading The Salvation Army in the United States. Commissioner Kenneth G. Hodder becomes the new National Commander, and Commissioner Jolene K. Hodder serves as the new National President of Women's Ministries. General Brian Peddle, the world leader of The Salvation Army, announced their appointments earlier this year. The couple follows in the footsteps of Commissioners David and Sharron Hudson, who served in those respective roles before their retirement this year.

The Salvation Army Logo (PRNewsfoto/The Salvation Army)

As the thirtieth National Commander of The Salvation Army, Commissioner Kenneth Hodder will lead the largest social services organization in the United States, with 7,600 centers of operation across the country that together serve nearly 23 million people each year. He will also serve as the national spokesman for the organization, and he will be active on Twitter with his account @NatlCommander.

Commissioner Jolene Hodder will run The Salvation Army's Women's Ministries, whose goal is to empower and equip women in all facets of life. Under her leadership, she hopes to inspire women to deeper faith and service for others while addressing issues that are critical to women.

The Hodders assume their leadership positions at a moment of intense need as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. After the Great Recession of 2008, The Salvation Army saw an additional 10 million requests for service. The numbers related to COVID-19 are expected to surpass that figure. Since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, The Salvation Army has already provided more than 58.5 million meals (a combination of 8.7 million prepared meals and nearly 2.5 million food boxes that provide about 20 meals each), 1.2 million nights of shelter and 712,000 responses to requests for emotional and spiritual care.

"I pray that The Salvation Army can serve as a model for the 'Applied Gospel,'" Commissioner Kenneth Hodder says. "Because The Salvation Army was born on the street, we must remain on the street to meet need in His name without discrimination. In addition to providing a range of assistance related to COVID-19, we will continue to focus on fighting poverty in the United States. It is unacceptable that people live under bridges or in tents in our country, and The Salvation Army has a critical role to play in improving that situation. By taking a hands-on approach to helping others, The Salvation Army can truly become 'the church that has left the building.'"

Prior to this appointment, Commissioner Kenneth Hodder, a sixth-generation Salvationist whose father, Commissioner Kenneth Hodder, was the National Commander from 1993 to 1995, served as the Territorial Commander of the USA Western Territory, and Commissioner Jolene Hodder served as the Territorial President of Women's Ministries. Among other vital efforts, together they worked diligently to address the growing crisis of homelessness in the Western United States. Last year, Commissioner Kenneth Hodder launched The Way Out, an initiative whose goal is to double The Salvation Army's response to homelessness over five years.

In addition to their efforts in the United States, the Hodders have deep experience working overseas. In 2006, they were appointed to serve in the Kenya Territory. In his role as chief secretary, Kenneth Hodder assumed operational responsibility for the creation of the Kenya East and Kenya West Territories. Three years later, the Hodders were appointed to The Salvation Army's International Headquarters, in London, where Kenneth Hodder served in dual roles as international secretary for personnel and as legal and constitutional adviser to the General. He also served as a member of the International Moral and Social Issues Council. Jolene Hodder served as associate international secretary for personnel and as secretary to the Chief's Business Session. They were subsequently appointed as the territorial leaders for Kenya West in January 2013. They returned to the United States in 2017 to accept their positions in the USA Western Territory.

"We are grateful for each opportunity to advocate for the humanity and dignity of those we serve, and to help meet their physical, emotional and spiritual needs," said Commissioner Jolene Hodder. "We've been in some of the richest and poorest communities in the world. Every person is a child of God and deserves all He has to offer. That's why we're committed to helping men, women and children be their very best."

Before becoming Salvation Army officers in 1988, the Hodders both had successful careers in the corporate world. Commissioner Kenneth Hodder graduated from Harvard College and Harvard Law School and practiced corporate and real estate law in Los Angeles with the firm Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison.

Commissioner Jolene Hodder graduated from California State University, Los Angeles, with a Bachelor of Science degree, after which she became a divisional manager for Carter Hawley Hale. She later earned a Master of Arts in Religion from Trevecca Nazarene University.

She is also the author of two books, Walking in White and A Bend in the Road.

The Hodders have one daughter, Jessica Fagerstrom, and are grandparents to their pride and joy, Everett Kenneth.

About The Salvation Army 
The Salvation Army annually helps nearly 23 million Americans overcome poverty, addiction and economic hardships through a range of social services. By providing food for the hungry, emergency relief for disaster survivors, rehabilitation for those suffering from drug and alcohol abuse, and clothing and shelter for people in need, The Salvation Army is doing the most good at 7,600 centers of operation around the country. In the first-ever listing of "America's Favorite Charities" by The Chronicle of Philanthropy, The Salvation Army ranked as the country's largest privately funded, direct-service nonprofit. For more information, visit Follow us on Twitter: @SalvationArmyUS and #DoingTheMostGood.

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