Project WARM Volunteers Remember Program Founder & Celebrate Success

Each winter, The Salvation Army works with volunteers from a program called Project WARM (Wood Association of Richmond Metro) which provides quality firewood to families and households who heat their homes with wood burning stoves. The founder of the program, Lou Wilson, recently passed away at the age of 84. Mr. Wilson began the program in 1976 and was a great friend of The Salvation Army.

In 1976 Lou Wilson saw a news segment of a single mother who was taking apart furniture and burning clothes to keep her children warm with their wood burning fireplace. A believer that service to humanity is the best work in life, Wilson began cutting, splitting and delivering firewood to households in similar situations. As awareness of his efforts grew, so did the demand for firewood but his volunteer base grew as well. And soon Project WARM, had partners like the City of Richmond and The Salvation Army, in 1989 the Richmond and Tuckahoe Jaycees joined the effort and that’s when George, Kay and Steve came to know Mr Wilson.

Mr Wilson’s son Marc and grandson Jonathan run the Project WARM program in the Roanoke/Salem, Virginia area.

Also, The Salvation Army’s Social Services Manager loves the Project WARM program and volunteers for their passion to serve and the compassion they show when delivering the firewood to the families identified by The Salvation Army. Project WARM volunteers log some 700+ volunteer hours a year and deliver firewood in their own vehicles on their own gas.

Before his work with Project WARM, Mr Wilson had served in the United States Navy and retired in 1966 as Chief Petty Officer after 29 years of service. Lou and his wife Mary Ann were married 39 years and Mary Ann is active member of The Salvation Army Advisory Board. The Wilson family asks that gifts in his memory be made to either the Virginia War Memorial Education Fund or The Salvation Army.

To learn more about Project WARM or other Salvation Army programs and services please visit us at