PITTSBURG — The Salvation Army’s Pittsburg Corps is the first placement for Lt. Mylie Hadden, but she’s hit the ground running.

Hadden graduated from the Central Territory Officers Training School in Chicago, before being appointed to lead the Pittsburg Corps. Since officially taking the helm at the beginning of July, Hadden has put into motion several changes — including rearranging offices, utilizing spaces differently and reorganizing the way the thrift store operates.

“My main goal is to foster a new image for the Salvation Army here in Pittsburg,” Hadden said. “I want to rebuild relationships and get us back out into the community.”

Hadden first became involved with the Salvation Army after Hurricane Katrina. Hadden served as a volunteer during relief efforts, before moving to Kansas City, Missouri, and attending the Salvation Army as her church.

“I worked there for three years as a Pathways for Hope case manager before going to Chicago to the officers training school,” Hadden said.

Hadden said she enjoyed the social work aspect, but ministry is what drew her to train as an officer.

“I just love the ministry part, I have a passion for it,” Hadden said. “I wanted to expand what I was doing, because it’s all a part of ministry — the social work aspect, the thrift store — not just the church.”

Hadden’s work also extends beyond the thrift store, offices and church. Hadden said she has a theme for each month the rest of the year.

For October, the Salvation Army is in the throes of its Coats for Folks program. Salvation Army barrels are posted at Via Christi Hospital, Countryside Christian Church, First Christian Church, PittNaz, Meadowbrook Mall, United Methodist, Teacher’s Credit Union and more locations. People may donate coats at any of the locations by simply placing them in the barrels.

November will begin bell ringing and the red kettle drive, followed by the Salvation Army’s big Christmas distribution in December.

In January, Hadden plans to begin working on women’s ministry programs.

“A big part is just getting the word out,” Hadden said. “I want to let people know what we do here at the Salvation Army and what we can offer.”

Members of Hadden’s family live in Oregon, Washington and Texas, and she spent the last two years in Chicago. She said when officers are commissioned after finishing the officers training school, they don’t know where they are being sent until they get on stage during the ceremony.

Hadden has spent a lot of time in larger cities, but said Pittsburg has been great.

“I was really tired of all the noise and traffic, so I was happy to come to a smaller town,” she said. “Pittsburg has been great. Everyone has been very welcoming and shown they want the Salvation Army hear and to be part of the community.”

Hadden replaced Maj. Gary Gugala who formerly served as the Pittsburg Corps lead officer.

— Chance Hoener is a staff writer for the Morning Sun. He can be emailed at choener@morningsun.net or follow him on Twitter @ReporterChance.