Salvation Army’s Tidmans ready for retirement

Each morning Salvation Army Major Vic Tidman begins his day with devotionals. Tidman and his wife, Ellen, are retiring after serving in the Army for decades, the last five years in Salisbury.

Major Vic Tidman and his wife, Ellen, will likely think about the beach in Maryland after they retire to the mountains of Pennsylvania in June.

They’ve been in Salisbury, close to the sea, five years, developed lasting friendships and gotten deeply involved in the community they have come to love.

“We will miss the ocean. I’m sure I’ll miss fresh crab cakes, because you can’t get better crab cakes than on the Eastern Shore. We will miss the people in the Corps, the people in my Corps, the people I made friends with,” Tidman said, as he talked about retirement and looked forward to a farewell barbecue with locals.

A fourth-generation Salvation Army officer who was born in Spartanburg, S.C., Tidman graduated from high school in Flat Rock, Mich., and attended college at Asbury College in Wilmore, Ky. There, he met Ellen Tanzey who, now, is a first-generation officer. A native of Portsmouth, Va., she grew up in, and graduated from high school in, Bedford County, Pa.

After graduation from college and a short time working in the public school system, Tidman accepted a position as youth program director for the YMCA. His wife opened a professional seamstress and dress making business.

Twelve years later, while living in Perry, Okla., where Tidman was the Chief Executive Officer of the YMCA, they responded to the call to ministry as Salvation Army Officers.

Both were commissioned as officers in June 1993 from the School for Officer Training in Atlanta and appointed to Bartlesville, Okla.

They’ve also served as Corps Commanding Officers in Shawnee, Okla., Lawton, Okla., Fairfax, Va., and as area commanders in Gainesville, Ga.

They came to Salisbury after spending six years in Saint Petersburg, Russia, where they were appointed area coordinators for The Salvation Army in Northern Russia.

Tidman was also in charge of public relations, fundraising and men’s programs for the entire country while his wife was responsible for grants and projects there, as well as the Overseas Child Sponsorship program.

“We were in the place in Russia where the Salvation Army first re-entered after the Berlin Wall fell, so we were in St. Petersburg. That is where Peter the Great was. It’s a beautiful city to live in and to go to work in but it is very cold in Russia.

“We were pretty much accepted. There always are highs and lows between the two countries but, basically, people are people wherever you are and people have problems. People hurt. And there are a lot of hurting people in Russia,” Tidman said.

“When we were in Russia, I missed everybody here a lot, but there are times now when I miss Russia, too,” said Tidman who, with his wife, has two children.

Daughter Misti is the Collection Development Librarian in Mansfield, Ohio, and son Matthew and his wife, Laura, are Salvation Army commanding officers in Front Royal, Va.

Tidman’s replacement in Salisbury will be Capt. Matt Trantham and his wife, Capt. Christina Trantham.

They will officially take over the week after Father’s Day, as the couple heads for Mrs. Tidman’s family farm, where they will “retire on one corner,” Tidman said.

Because Salvation Army officers are mobile, living in the Army parsonage and driving provided vehicles, they don’t have a lot to pack. Parsonages are furnished, so they only have to gather personal items.

“In Pennsylvania, I probably will help with the farm some. It’s a pick-your-own-berry farm. They also run a saw mill. I also will speak at churches,” he said.

“It is a leap from being a Commanding Officer to working on a farm. I’m a fourth-generation officer. My dad had been an officer and I grew up in the Salvation Army,” he said.

“I don’t want to give you the impression that is common but that has happened in our family. It’s all about Christ and God and his calling in our life. I do think that if we were able to shine him in our lives that maybe that had something to do with it,” he said.

“I’ve really enjoyed my career. I have done things in the Salvation Army that I would not only imagine in another career path. I’ve lived in foreign countries. I’ve met people,” he said.

“Being a Salvation Army officer is a unique calling in somebody’s life.”

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