Major Curtiss Hartley says every year the Salvation Army in La Crosse helps hundreds of thousands of people in need with clothing, food and shelter.
"It's not just a job it's not just coming here showing up and putting in your hours and taking home a pay check,” says Hartley.
Hartley says the group's relationship with La Crosse County is a good one.
In fact, the county awards the Salvation Army a $50,000 grant for beds and other needs at the homeless shelter Hartley runs.
"It's a great example of how a community can work with a social service organization such as ours to really get the biggest bang for the buck,” says Hartley.
But the relationship between the county and the Salvation Army is being questioned after Washington D.C.-based Americans United for Separation of Church and State allege the Salvation Army forces prayer on it's residents.
"Someone walks in off the street and they have the option to take advantage of the meal program the option to take advantage of the food pantry the option to take part in our worship program,” says Hartley.
La Crosse County Board Chair Steve Doyle says the county has done studies and found no first amendment violations and says running a county shelter would cost more than one hundred thousand dollars more.
"We've convinced ourselves that we're not breaking the law and I don't see any reason to change,” says Doyle.
A spokes person for Americans United for Separation of Church and State says the group is investigating because of several complaints about the Salvation Army and prayer.
"When tax payer monies come into the mix we need to be extra careful that there is no promotion of religion with public funds,” says spokesman Rob Boston.
Hartley says A.U. is welcome to stop in any time to check out how the shelter is run and says he does everything by the book.
"We don't hide from who we are; we are a religious charitable organization that looks to serve mankind,’ says Hartley.
Locally, the Salvation Army got more than $1/6 million last year in donations.