Richmond Shelter Employee Honored for Helping Resident Deliver Baby

Aug 14, 2017 | by Laura Poff

Richmond Shelter Employee Honored for Helping Resident Deliver Baby

When Iris Washington started working as an evening housing monitor at The Salvation Army's West Grace Street shelter in Richmond, Virginia, there was nothing in the job description about delivering babies. But that's exactly what happened recently in the lobby of the shelter.

"It all happened so fast," Washington said as she remembered the recent delivery of a shelter resident's baby. "I really didn't have time to think about it, I just went into autopilot. I'm a mom myself, I've been there; you just need someone to help you and I just did what I could to help her out. I really didn't realize what I was doing, it was just happening."

"The Salvation Army's promise is to Do the Most Good, and I'd say that everyone that was helping was doing the most good at the time," said Captain Donald Dohmann, Central Virginia area commander. "Who knows what would have happened if The Salvation Army shelter wasn't here? Where would this mother have given birth? Knowing that a child was born right here in our shelter, praise God that The Salvation Army is here in our community to provide shelter for homeless men, women and children!"

To honor Washington for her selfless actions to help bring a new life into the world, Armour, the makers of convenient meal solutions and ingredients including frozen meatballs, pepperoni and portable meal kits, hosted an event at The Salvation Army Central Virginia Area Command. The Armour "Great Moms" campaign is a national program designed to highlight and reward everyday great moms across the country for their extraordinary efforts in their communities and at home.

Armour and Publix celebrated Washington, with her family, friends, and fellow coworkers in attendance. To recognize her for being a "Great Mom" and community hero, Armour surprised her
with a $2,500 Publix gift card.

"Ms. Washington exemplifies the spirit of an Armour ‘Great Mom'," said Mike Paribello, senior director of marketing for Smithfield Foods, corporate parent of Armour. "She is a wonderful mother to her children and has shown tremendous support to her community. We are honored to celebrate and  reward Ms. Washington with $2,500 in free groceries to Publix."

"Thank you so much. This is a beautiful surprise," Washington said. "I'm just glad I was here and am so honored to have been a part of the baby's birth and it makes me feel so good to be called a great mom, because as a mom, we doubt ourselves on a daily basis. We try to do our best, and to have that recognition means so much to me. It's confirmation that I am doing a good job.

Through community support, The Salvation Army Emergency Shelter program helps residents overcome ongoing crises and achieve stability. In addition to providing a bed, a place to shower and at least two hot meals each day, Salvation Army case managers concentrate on helping residents identify problems and eliminate causes that contributed to their homelessness.

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