A Lewis Center man who "fell in love" with the Salvation Army through volunteer work has been selected to lead the organization's National Advisory Board.

A Lewis Center man who "fell in love" with the Salvation Army through volunteer work has been selected to lead the organization's National Advisory Board.

William J. Burke, senior vice president of marketing with Nationwide Insurance, began his three-year term as board chairman earlier this month.

Burke said he began volunteering with the Salvation Army in 1996 after being asked to join a local advisory board. He said he agreed with one caveat.

"My stipulation was: I don't just want to be a name on your roster. ... I want to get to work," he said.

Burke and his wife, Marianne, began their volunteer efforts by helping deliver meals through the organization's Heart to Heart Mobile Canteen program. Volunteers with the program serve thousands of hot meals every year to people in need at multiple sites on weekends in central Ohio.

"Every Saturday night, that was our Saturday-night date," Burke said. "We just sort of fell in love with the Army that way."

Burke said the Salvation Army is "very much locally oriented," but the National Advisory Board focuses on major fundraising and policy issues. Burke joined the National Advisory Board in 2010.

He said the board's tasks include overseeing the organization's advertising and messaging, as well as determining what local programs could work on a national basis.

Burke said his goals as board chairman include expanding the Salvation Army's programs combating intergenerational poverty and working to get more young people involved with the organization.

"We have not fully tapped the energy of millennials," he said.

Burke said he also wants the Salvation Army to continue to its efforts to combat human trafficking -- something he says the Salvation Army of Central Ohio excels at.

"We are leaders in that in central Ohio," he said. "Many of the things we do here I'd like to see spread."

Burke said he was "unbelievably humbled" to be selected as the National Advisory Board's chairman, especially in light of the many national business leaders and luminaries on the board.

Burke succeeded former chairwoman Charlotte Jones Anderson, an executive with the Dallas Cowboys. The board includes former first lady Laura Bush and executives from Chick-fil-A, FedEx and other companies.