I Once Was Lost

By: Danni Eickenhorst, Midland Division

“Her name was Gracie… I love that song. Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, I once was lost but now am found…”

Four years ago, Dr. James Dorman lost his wife Gracie after a prolonged battle with esophageal cancer.

A deeply devoted and adoring husband, the retired college professor nursed his wife through her 13-month battle with cancer, ultimately holding her in his arms as she passed away.

“She was literally given 3 months to live, but through the grace and power of a wonderful God, she never abandoned hope and she went from 3 months, to 4 months, to 5. We started to live our life one week at a time, one month at a time, but finally the inevitable did catch up with her.”

Following her death, Dr. Dorman says, “I was as lost as lost can be… The dear people at the Alton Salvation Army really took me in and made me one of their own, and gave me great comfort during a very dark time.”

The doctor recalled when Captain Randy Tooley and Salvation Army members invited him to The Salvation Army’s Men’s Camp at Camp Mihaska so that he might have a chance for fellowship and healing.

“We really don’t know how or when but when we’re at our darkest moment, our angel will show up,” James said, “Every man no matter what his age should spend a few days at Men’s Camp, because you don’t really realize the true spirit of The Salvation Army until you do. It was one of the most deeply spiritual experiences of my life, and I think I needed that.”

Thus began a lasting relationship with The Salvation Army, which motivated Dr. Dorman to make a planned gift with his estate that would benefit The Salvation Army’s work.

“Gracie’s spirit motivates me today, in terms of the gift I’ve given. Some people might have a hard time understanding why I would donate the equivalent of a year of my salary, which is not that much for St. Charles Community College professors – especially not retired ones, but I thought The Salvation Army was one of the groups that was so encouraging… It’s not that I’m leaving a legacy for me. It’s that I’m leaving a legacy for [Gracie’s] shining example.”

Dorman designated his gift to support The Salvation Army’s financial education programs to break the spirit of poverty, and also to scholarship funds for children and future officers of The Salvation Army.

“My wife loved sixth graders. She would have loved the idea of giving educational aid and scholarships. The Salvation Army is one of the best organizations that makes a real difference.” Of the financial education programs he says, “If you teach a person to fish, they can eat for the rest of their life. They’ll never again be living paycheck to paycheck. We all need hope.”

To learn more about how you can make a difference with your final gifts in life, visit http://tsamidland.giftlegacy.com/.

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