he Canadian Red Shield Services has been serving the Canadian Forces for many years. In 1939,with the threat of global warfare imminent, the leaders of The Salvation Army offered their services to the Canadian Forces. During the succeeding years, more than 400 men and women became part of the Red Shield Services establishing dry canteens, large clubs where weary servicemen could rest and write letters home, or just to lend a listening ear to a war weary and lonely soldier. Accommodation, much of it free, was provided for soldiers on leave who had no place to go. These and many other services became part of the everyday job for those in the Red Shield Services.
Canada is no longer actively engaged in conflicts, so what is Red Shield Services doing with the Canadian Forces in Europe? The Red Shield Services Department currently consists of eight officers with about seventy employees. In the three centers of operation at Baden, Geilenkirchen and Lahr we maintain family restaurants, serving mainly home-style Canadian type meals and operate gift and souvenir stores where Canadian and NATO personnel may buy reasonably priced goods. Every Sunday there is a Vesper Service conducted, a weekly Bible Study as well as a monthly prayer breakfast. A vital part of our service is the operation of the mobile canteen for servicemen on field exercises. These are just a few of the services provided by the Red Shield Services Department.
The Salvation Army Canadian Red Shield Services commenced operations in Baden in June of 1972 and will be continuing to provide service to the community as long as there is a need. During the Gulf War and the Yugoslavian Peacekeeping operation, the Salvation Army participated in all aspects of helping to provide comfort to the families of those who were away from home. The sharing of a friendly smile, or a listening ear over a cup of coffee is still very often the situation at the Red Shield Club where the family can come for a touch of "home".