Salvation Army unveils renovations, honors long-time board member

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WEAU) -- Monday the Salvation Army of La Crosse unveiled the renovations to its emergency shelter, the organization's first renovation in nearly 30 years.

The Salvation Army completed the renovations to increase the capacity of families they can hold as well as improve their security measures.

"If we put a family of eight in one room then that was it. If we put a family of three in one room that was it. And so we discovered that we turned away about 43 families that were the size of three and the question was asked could we divide those spaces out and do a better job accommodating those needs," said La Crosse Salvation Army Major Jeff Richardson.

The Salvation Army also honored Ron Schnick, who served on the advisory board for more than 35 years and helped bring the current shelter building to life.

He passed away in 2012.

"In his eulogy and his obituary I asked that people who wanted to give money in his honor, give it in memory of him to the Salvation Army. And more than $12,500 came in his name from around the world," said Roz Schnick, who was married to Ron.

More than seven years after his death, Ron is still giving back.

The $12,500 raised was used for architect fees and planning on this renovation.

"Salvation Army represents a lot of what's good about La Crosse and there are a lot of things that are good. But this is to help people that find themselves in circumstances sometimes that are beyond their control or even if it was in their control and they made bad decisions," said Schnick.

The entire renovation process took around two years and the construction began in January.

Richardson says the plan for the next project is a new building structure, which he hopes can be realized within the next few years.