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Carla Ruge, left, and Rennea Howard, middle, give the Dr. Bettye Myers Legacy Service Award to Hank Dickenson, deputy athletic director for the University of North Texas, during the Salvation Army Luncheon at the HUB Club inside the University of North Texas' Apogee Stadium.

While the Salvation Army is looking forward on its footprint in Denton County in the coming years, it also looked back at organizational leaders such as Bettye Myers during the annual Salvation Army luncheon Tuesday at the HUB Club in Apogee Stadium on the campus of the University of North Texas.

The luncheon was the first time the organization presented the Dr. Bettye Myers Legacy Service Award to recognize someone who is dedicated to serving the community and is committed to the work and mission of the Salvation Army of Denton County.

Hank Dickenson, a member of the Denton Corps Advisory Council and longtime executive senior associate athletic director at UNT, was presented the inaugural award.

“She was always a consistent person on our board, and we’re going to miss her, but I think she’s left a legacy,” Dickenson said of Myers, who died in February. “Anyone she touched, I think, wants to continue to do the work that she’s done.”

In addition to Dickenson, four community partners were honored with the 2019 group awards for their ongoing partnerships to support Salvation Army: Caring Neighbors, Golden Triangle Mall, Singing Oaks Church and the Trammell Group.

Brian Cree, a longtime donor and benefactor with the regional Salvation Army, announced ambitious capital campaigns in Lewisville and Denton to build centers to meet the current needs.

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Sportscaster Brad Sham, speaks to guests during the Salvation Army Luncheon at the HUB Club inside UNT’s Apogee Stadium. Sham, known as the voice of the Dallas Cowboys, was the keynote speaker this year.

The Lewisville project already has $2 million of the $10 million needed and has secured a property to build out. The project will take two to three years to complete, and plans include large overnight facilities, sanctuary space and a gymnasium, Cree said.

A new Denton location is further out, and leadership is working with people, such as Denton Mayor Chris Watts, to find a 10-acre property to house a new Salvation Army complex to meet growing needs.

Once a property is identified, it will take a $20 million campaign to build it out, Cree said.

“It would have a lot more centers, it has a huge sanctuary, gymnasium, women’s, men’s and mixed family facilities,” Cree said of the preliminary plans for Denton. “It’s just a phenomenal, phenomenal design we’re trying to implement in the next several years. It’s a big project.”

The event also featured Brad Sham, the voice of the Dallas Cowboys, as the keynote speaker.

In his address, Sham talked about how the Salvation Army’s principles and mission of helping those in need through God’s love need to be practiced every day, not just in donations and attending events.

“We’re in this together, and whether the mission of the Salvation Army is ultimately successful not only depends on who volunteers at a soup kitchen, not only who writes a check — the very mission of the Salvation Army ultimately depends on how we decide to treat each other,” Sham said. “If you spend your energy and you spend your passion on what the Salvation Army does ... this is how we’re going to repair the world.”

JENNA DUNCAN can be reached at 940-566-6889 and via Twitter at @jennafduncan.

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