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Family's Army roots inspire passion for Red Shield Appeal

Family's Army roots inspire passion for Red Shield Appeal

Family's Army roots inspire passion for Red Shield Appeal

11 May 2018

Brad Pillinger's family history with The Salvation Army inspires him to fundraise every year for the Army.

By Brad Pillinger

I am not a Salvationist. Or a fundraiser. Nor even, strange as it may seem, primarily a real estate professional, even though that’s what I do on a day-to-day basis.

I am a Christian through and through, a sinner saved by grace, and my primary mission is being charged and blessed by God to head a family.

However, over the years, I have struggled with this question: Is the one life I get to live best used by spending a majority of my time in this endeavour, simply so that I can afford to spend more time with my primary mission, or is there a higher and better use for my life?

My history with The Salvation Army goes back a lot longer than the past two years that I have been directly involved with the Red Shield Appeal.

My grandfather Norman, grandmother Ethel, Uncle Stan and Aunt Denise were Salvation Army officers, whose callings were obvious –they gave everything they had to God. My father was so in awe of them. His stories of my grandparents’ faith shaped my Salvation Army journey. My memory of my grandfather is that he was the perfect person; I never saw or heard of him being anything but selfless, God-fearing and hardworking.

But my father, as an officer’s kid, moved around a lot. He and my mother didn’t want that lifestyle for us, hence Sydney has always been my base and I have built my life here.

My dad was the perfect father for me – moral, honest, very hard working, master salesman, quiet demeanour, but he never, ever backed down and was in control of his domain. His commitment to The Salvation Army for the first 50-plus years of his life significantly influenced me.

Campsie Salvation Army Corps was a huge part of the first 25 years of my life. I have since attended different churches and am raising my children with faith. The Salvation Army hasn’t been part of my kids’ lives to this point, but Christ is at the centre. We have been worshipping at Northside Community Church for more than 25 years.
 
Two years ago, I was asked to help with The Salvation Army’s Red Shield Appeal and I was excited. I vividly remember the doorknocks as a boy and felt that my kids could get a lot out of it.

Early on in the campaign my personal assistant set up an Everyday Hero site. We simply added the link to my email sign-off, and started to text it out to all 3000 people in my phone contacts and all 6000 Facebook followers. We got such great responses!

I am sure every person, if they asked every contact on their phone, could raise $5000.

I guess I have just hammered people eight or nine times more than what a normal person would do, because we ended up raising $33,000 in that first year through the Everyday Hero fundraising website. The next year we raised $45,000!

When I say “hammered”, I want to emphasise the importance of being sincere. We’re all hit with fundraising requests, but I believe the passion I have for supporting The Salvation Army, and the fact that I only ask people once a year during the 6-8 week period in April-May, is the key thing to developing a long-lasting and sincere relationship with people who are wanting to give.

There’s countless great causes that people can put their energy and money towards, but obviously due to the family history with my uncle and father and grandparents dedicating their life through The Salvation Army, this is the cause we have chosen.

I am proud of my family’s history in The Salvation Army. I am proud to have The Salvation Army in my blood and for it to be such an integral part of who I am. Without doubt, the money raised has been linked to people knowing that I have a genuine passion for the work that is done.

My Salvation Army experiences, Bible studies, people, camps and services of my youth and family teachings have forged who I am and I am delighted to raise funds for such a worthwhile cause.

The Salvation Army's 2018 Red Shield Appeal will be held 26-27 May. 

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