In May, Majors Harold and Helen Robbins celebrated their retirement from active service with a luncheon and ceremony held at the scenic Nyack Seaport Center in Nyack, N.Y. The occasion recognized their 44 years, 2 months, and 24 days of active service under the flags of three nations and on two continents.
Presiding over the event was Major Mark W. Tillsley, territorial secretary for personnel. He said to the gathering of family and friends, “Sharon [Major Sharon J. Tillsley] and I have definitely felt that we have been given a wonderful gift to have worked alongside the Robbinses these past two years. Their depth of experience, wisdom—and humor to get things going in the morning—we’ve just been very grateful [for them].”
Referring to the couple’s careers, Tillsley said, “What a wonderful history of service!”
That service began in 1963 when Harold entered the College for Officer Training (CFOT), St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada, from Bell Island Citadel Corps. A member of the Proclaimers of the Faith session, he was appointed back to the school upon his commissioning. The following year, he married sessionmate Lieutenant Helen (Ellen) Pike, who had entered training from Corner Brook Citadel Corps, Corner Brook, Newfoundland.
The Robbinses assumed command of two corps at South Dildo and Blaketown. This was the first of nine corps appointments they shared. They held numerous administrative appointments at CFOT and divisional headquarters in Canada and served at International Headquarters (IHQ) and in the USA Eastern Territory. Harold, a delegate to the International College of Officers, served as president of his session.
An exciting time came for the couple when they were appointed to IHQ in the roles of under secretaries; Harold for North America and Helen for Latin America and the Caribbean. She was the first married woman to assume such a position.
They then received appointments to the USA Eastern Territory. While serving at the Empire State Divisional Headquarters in Syracuse, N.Y. (Harold as general secretary, and Helen as program secretary), International Headquarters approved their transfer to become permanent officers of the USA Eastern Territory. After four years in Empire State, they assumed their current appointments. Harold has been territorial assistant secretary for personnel and Helen has been Eastern Territory Immigration Bureau director and territorial assistant to the secretary for personnel.
Representative speaker and sessionmate Major Eric Brown said, “The couple that we honor today have been lifelong Proclaimers of the Faith, fulfilling the calling and commitment made to God and the Army in the early 1960s.”
“Grace” and “care” were the words Commissioner Lawrence R. Moretz, territorial commander, used to describe the work and ministry of the Majors Robbins. Moretz presented the couple with their retirement certificates.
Calling attention to early photos of the couple, Moretz said, “Look at their eyes—young, vibrant candidates,” he said. “Forty–five years later [they are] fulfilled, satisfied active officers.” Moretz said that their eyes were “fixed, focused, and faithful.”
The Robbinses have two married children, David (wife, Julie) and Darryl (wife, Amy), and one granddaughter, Chloe Joy, all of whom live in Maryland. The family told their stories through a humorous PowerPoint® presentation and live narration.
In response, Major Harold Robbins sincerely thanked family, friends, sessionmates, and coworkers. Major Helen Robbins said, “We love you all—God bless!”
Major Harold and Helen Robbins' retirement takes effect Sept. 1, when they will take up residence in Lakeland, Fla.