A La Porte County Life in the Spotlight: Dale and Rebecca Simmons

A La Porte County Life in the Spotlight: Dale and Rebecca Simmons

One Michigan City couple lets their love and faith in God guide them in their mission to better the lives of others. Major Rebecca Simmons and Major Dale Simmons have made it their goal in life alongside the Salvation Army to serve local communities in more ways than one. 

Growing up miles and states apart, Rebecca Simmons was raised in Burlington, Iowa while her husband Dale Simmons spent his childhood in the housing projects of Chicago. Both members of the Salvation Army Church, which eventually led to the couple meeting, their marriage and the ability to work alongside one another everyday helped share their passion of Christ and genuine love of helping others. 

“I do this for a commitment to God, so I can care for others and treat others the way they should be treated,” Rebecca Simmons said. “That’s a success.”

Rebecca Simmons went to school and attended the Salvation Army Church where her mother was a member. She loved being a member of that environment and saw it being a part of the rest of her life. After graduating from high school, Rebecca Simmons attended Iowa Wesleyan University for her bachelor’s degree and then Saint Louis University for her master’s.

Dale Simmons started attending the Salvation Army church when he was 10, going to several programs through the church such as the Boy Scouts of America and music programs. After graduating high school, Dale Simmons went to a seminary school in Saint Louis where he met and became friends with Rebecca Simmons' sister. 

“After college, I spent the next 12 1/2 years being the Social Services Director for the Salvation Army for all of Kansas and Western Missouri,” Rebecca Simmons said. “Then, we decided to make a move so that we both could work together.”

“Rebecca’s sister and I were at our seminary at the same time, and even though she was a year ahead, we became really good friends,” Dale Simmons said. “Rebecca and I met there, but then the Salvation Army sent me to St. Louis, where I then spent the next 7 1/2 years. We got married, went to Kansas, and that’s how it all happened.”

Rebecca and Dale Simmons currently work at the Michigan City chapter of the Salvation Army where they help with their programs. This section of the Salvation Army saw a need for a better sense of family togetherness, so many of the programs focus on that. Rebecca Simmons helps with social services, food banks, and providing warm meals for the women’s shelter as well as a once-a-month meal for their family get together programs. 

Dale Simmons works alongside his wife sharing many of the tasks, but he also works with people in the community that have overcome addiction. He's proud of the work he does every day, and one of his favorite parts about it is working with his wife. Dale Simmons said he loves that the people can see the dynamic between them. They balance one another out and always work together, reinforcing the idea of a strong family unit. 

“It seems like there's a real need for family togetherness,” Dale Simmons said. “We provide good, healthy, family-oriented programs and programs to help people move on from things. We help them create a bridge out of poverty and start to break that cycle. All of our programs are designed to not be just a hand-out but a help-out.” 

Rebecca and Dale Simmons plan to continue their efforts to better the Michigan City area. They love where they live and the people who help them everyday that make it possible for them to help others. Rebecca and Dale Simmons said the donors of their community are important to what they do. Dale Simmons said he can tell the donors are doing it from the kindness of their hearts rather than a namesake, and that makes a world of difference. 

“It’s important for people to feel valued, so when our staff is able to point and know someone by their name, we become a safe haven for them,” Dale Simmons said. “People may feel afraid, but they feel safe with us, and we're able to give and continue that environment for them. That's what I enjoy the most.”

Rebecca and Dale Simmons love what they do everyday. Some days may be longer than others, but they wouldn’t have it any other way. Outside of work, they prioritize family. They see the lack of family units in the community as a chance to bridge as many gaps as possible. Dale Simmons said he loves listening to music with his daughter, and Rebecca Simmons loves to sew, but what they love the most is just spending quality time together.