LAWRENCE — Eduardo Feliz first went to the Salvation Army when he needed a winter coat several years ago.
Today, Feliz is leading other people to the church as the new spiritual leader along with his wife, Major Miguelina Feliz. Majors Eduardo and Miguelina Feliz began their post in Lawrence this summer.
”I fell in love with Lawrence despite the inconceivable problems it faces, but I want to be here to help,” he said.
Eduardo Feliz, who grew up Catholic in the Dominican Republic and even considered being a priest. But, he left the church and did not attend serves between the ages of 14 to 30.
”I was totally impious. I didn’t talk about God or the church,” he said.
But things changed when a Salvation Army pastor invited him to a service.
”The pastor invited me to the church, but I told him I didn’t want to go. He kept insisting, but I stood in front of the church smoking or drinking. One day I went inside and continued going from then on,” he said.
The Lawrence congregation has approximately 70 members, 20 of whom joined in the the past two months. Ninety-eight percent of the congregation is Hispanic mainly.
In addition to Lawrence, Eduardo and his wife have served in Buffalo, N.Y., Philadelphia and Lancaster, Penn. and Youngstown, Ohio.
Eduardo was born in Barahona a town in the southern part of the Dominican Republic. He emigrated to the United States in 1974, settling in New York. He studied computer science at Baruch College in New York City and lived there until 1984 when he returned to his native land for two years. He worked for Eastman Kodak for 14 years.
His wife, 48, was born in Santiago, Dominican Republic. She has a degree in administration from APEC University in Dominican Republic and a degree in sociology from Youngstown State University.