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Couple to command Salvation Army SW Division

Lt. Col. Ivan Wild and Lt. Col. Jennifer Wild are the new commanders of the Salvation Army’s Southwest Division, which includes New Mexico, Arizona and Southern Nevada. (Courtesy of the Salvation Army)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The Salvation Army has announced the appointment of Lt. Col. Ivan Wild and Lt. Col. Jennifer Wild as the new leaders of the Salvation Army’s Southwest Division.

The married couple replaces Lt. Col. Kelly Pontsler, who has been reassigned to the Western Territorial Headquarters in Rancho Palos Verdes, California.

As commanders of the Southwest Division, the Wilds oversee a budget of $73 million, of which $9.3 million is earmarked for New Mexico, Ivan Wild said Thursday.

In 2020, about 140,000 people in New Mexico received services through the Salvation Army, including food, clothing, shelter, rent and utility assistance, disaster relief, outreach to seniors and underprivileged children, adult addiction rehabilitation, and emotional and spiritual support.

Wild said the Salvation Army is looking at specific projects in New Mexico over the coming years, including a capital campaign to raise money to redesign and expand its addictions rehabilitation facility in Albuquerque, and to deliver case management services through a mobile unit, particularly in under-served and rural areas throughout the state.

Based in Phoenix, the Southwest Division covers New Mexico, Arizona and Southern Nevada.

The Wilds, who most recently were assigned to Sacramento, California, are familiar with the Southwest. They met at a Salvation Army camp in Arizona in 1983, subsequently married and entered the Army’s training college, where both became ordained ministers.

“Our roots in the Southwest Division run deep, and we are honored to return and serve those in need,” he said.

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