Tears flowed just minutes into a discussion of farewells.

Capt. Jodi Sladek, 44, could not help it. She and her husband, Capt. Alan Sladek, 55, have poured their hearts into the people helped by the Bartholomew County outreach of the local Salvation Army corps that they have led. And those people have, in turn, poured their souls into the Sladeks.

Come 11 a.m. Sunday, after seven years, the Columbus couple celebrates their final Sunday worship service at their offices at 2525 Illinois Ave. After arriving here from Springfield, Illinois, they are being transferred to the Shelbyville Salvation Army headquarters and begin their new assignment Wednesday.

“I knew this was going to make me cry,” Jodi Sladek said as her eyes grew watery.

The emotion stems partly from the fact that this was the Sladeks’ first appointment as officers of the worldwide, Christian-based social service and church that specializes in helping the physically and spiritually needy.

“One thing we really wanted to do was establish a real presence here,” Jodi Sladek said. “We wanted people to know that the Salvation Army is more than a red kettle and a bell.”

For more on this story, see Friday’s Republic.

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Brian Blair is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at bblair@therepublic.com or 812-379-5672.