H. Ross Perot had a special place in his heart for The Salvation Army since childhood. Over and over while growing up, he heard the story about how the brother he never knew, Gabriel Ross Perot Jr. – who died of spinal meningitis before Ross was born – would pass a tambourine through the crowd in downtown Texarkana on Saturday nights to collect donations for The Salvation Army.
Everyone from the farms and rural areas around Texarkana would come to town on Saturdays to meet and stock up on supplies. Gathering around town square on Saturday nights was a big part of life for the Perot family in those days.
“The story we all heard about through our childhood was when The Salvation Army band would come down and play,” Perot said. “They would give him the tambourine at the end of the concert and he would pass the tambourine. It was the high point of the Saturday night.”
In addition to his lifelong fondness for The Salvation Army stemming from these childhood memories, Perot had another reason to support the organization: His wife Margot was a member of The Salvation Army’s local advisory board and a Life Member of the National Advisory Board.
Ross and Margot were financial supporters of The Salvation Army since the early 1980s. The couple was instrumental in the fundraising efforts for the “Impact on the Future” campaign benefiting The Salvation Army Southern Territory College for Officer Training. Later, they made a grant to the College for Officer Training to build the Perot Family Residence for married student housing. They were presented the distinguished William Booth Award, named for the founder of The Salvation Army, in Dallas, and the Evangeline Booth Award at The Salvation Army National Advisory Organizations Conference in 2003.
Perot also gave the lead gift to a capital campaign for The Salvation Army in Texarkana to build the Gabriel Ross Perot Center of Hope transitional housing shelter.
Through the years, Ross and Margot’s children have also become supporters of The Salvation Army. Last holiday season, Ross Perot, Jr. and his wife Sarah matched every dollar donated to The Salvation Army red kettles across DFW up to $500,000 during the home stretch of the annual campaign. And two years ago, they gave $1 million to support local services of The Salvation Army of North Texas following a $1 million gift from Ross, Margot, and their daughters for Hurricane Harvey relief.
The Perot family has been so important to The Salvation Army and it’s humbling to know The Salvation Army has been so important to them.
“There’s just such a wonderful work that goes on, and so many varieties of work, reaching so many people,” Margot said.
The Salvation Army is honored to have had the admiration and support of H. Ross Perot during his entire lifetime. We extend our sincerest condolences to his family, friends, and all who loved him.
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