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Updated Tuesday, February 02, 2010 9:13 PM

Salvation Army spokesman discusses Sherman captain's arrest

BY MARY JANE FARMER

HERALD DEMOCRAT

The Sherman-based Salvation Army branch has temporarily assigned two retired soldiers of rank to assure that operations continue at the local organization. This weekend, its commanding captain, David Grigsbay, was jailed on a felony charge of possession of a controlled substance (crack cocaine.) He has posted bail, been placed on leave from the Salvation Army, and is the subject of two investigations, one by Sherman police and the other conducted internally by Salvation Army officials.

Salvation Army Major Ronnie Raymer said that retired officers Don and Myrna Ritson are temporarily assigned to work in the Sherman branch, and that two others will be assigned to a longer service soon. These are people who have voluntarily come out of retirement to again assist the Salvation Army and the people it serves, Raymer said.

"We temporarily have a couple of retired officers who live in Texas and will be filling in until we have a more permanent fix to this. They are willing to come and serve until we are able to find something more permanent, and that could be as late as June," Raymer said.

Sherman police Officer Brandon Toney made the arrest Saturday after acting on a tip that someone was using drugs at a residence. Sherman police allege that they found Grigsbay in possession of between 1 - 4 grams of crack cocaine.

Earlier, police had said that the arrest was not made on Salvation Army property, but Raymer said that it was made in a camper owned by Grigsbay behind the parsonage Grigsbay shared with his wife, also a captain, on Salvation Army property on Clay Lane.

"The Salvation Army wishes to convey its deep concern and regret regarding the alleged situation," Raymer said in a press release. He said the Salvation Army is cooperating fully with law enforcement and is also conducting its own internal investigations. "We have no indication that the Salvation Army has been compromised."

When asked about money raised through the Salvation Army's recent "Empty Bowls" fundraiser, Raymer said he received all of the money Tuesday morning which has been collected to date from that event. It is all accounted for, he emphasized, "every dime of it."

Raymer explained that part of the Salvation Army's routine, being a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, requires that an external audit be conducted yearly. Part of the Army's internal investigation will be to conduct internal audits, also. "These deal with internal controls to make sure we are following all Salvation Army policies, and safeguarding donations and gifts." They are preparing for the external, or independent, audit as well.

The Salvation Army did not post bail, Raymer said. "It is against policy." He said he has been a Salvation Army officer for almost 30 years and, "It's the first time I've seen this type of incident. It's very rare."

Screening of people for advancement in the Salvation Army requires various "psychological requirements and hoops to go through before promoting. This is to ensure they will be exceptional officers."

Many of the officers are also licensed ministers, raising the standard bar higher for officers, Raymer said, adding that Grigsbay is a licensed clergyman.

Raymer said he could neither confirm nor deny that Grigsbay is now in drug abuse treatment or that he does or doesn't have an attorney hired. He added that Grigsbay's wife, Capt. Tammy Grigsbay, has taken a voluntary leave of absence.

"It is a personal issue now for Capt. (David) Grigsbay and the Salvation Army has taken possession of everything he had that belonged to the Army," Raymer said. "We will assist him within the ministry and the love of Christ. We will not treat this differently than any other case that comes in. Our interest is primarily to take care of the physical, emotional, and spiritual welfare of all people."

Raymer said that the Salvation Army understands that the incident needs to be reported and that they will not cover it up. "We will be as open as we can legally be."

The Major said he praises the Sherman staff, who he described as "a wonderful group who is totally committed to the work and we are making sure they are being cared for. They remain committed to continue the work of the Army in Sherman and the area." He said he and the Army also appreciate the community "for its continued support and faith in the Salvation Army and its ministry."



Comments ... 3 found!

: 2/3/2010
ow sad. I hope that Salv. Army Capt. gets to cooperate with the Police. We need to find not only the users but the providers of these life-destroyers drugs. We need to find who supplied him with those drugs. Lets make sure that we send a clear message to the drug-dealers, that we do not want them here in our beautiful Texoma area. By getting involve or by just calling our local police, we can increase our safety in our community. If you know or suspect that you may know individual/as dealing drugs, please call you local law enforcement: (903) 892-7281 or 911. You can ask to remain anonymous.

Me MA

: 2/3/2010
I volunteered this year and I could tell something was wrong. Captain Grigsbay was often quiet and seemed to get easily agitated. I pray for his family during this tough time. He has a lovely family and should feel very blessed to have them. I know his son has almost always helped out around the busy Christmas season and this year his son's lovely girlfriend even helped out as well. She was donating her time to the Salvation Army as well and was a very nice polite young lady. I just hope that Captain Grigsbay can see all the wonderful people around him that have been there for him and supported him through everything and he gets his life back together. Don't drag everyone down with you, either get it together or cut them loose they deserve so much better.

Worried

: 2/3/2010
I love what the Salvation Army does and I will continue to donate and support them. I am horribly disappointed in Capt. Grigsbay. He is putting him family through horrors that we will never understand. His son is a GREAT kid and has always been there to help his parents out epically during Christmas. I hope his son learns from this and doesn't follow in his fathers footsteps. I'm just really glad that the Salvation Army is being open and honest about the whole thing. Your Army is strong and you will survive.

Concerned
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