Woman with terminal illness donates piano to Salvation Army location damaged by arson

Dec 26, 2023

Just over a year ago, a man set fire to The Salvation Army in Brooklyn Park, Minn. Security footage shows the arsonist piling donated coats onto a pew in the chapel and lighting them ablaze. 

Although the fire was contained by sprinklers, almost everything in the chapel was destroyed by fire and water – including the piano used for worship.

Ham Lake resident Linda Dieken (pictured) heard about the tragedy and decided to make an inspiring donation. 

Linda is a lifelong pianist who was recently diagnosed with ALS – a progressive neurodegenerative disease that has mostly prevented her from lifting her arms and moving some of her fingers. She no longer can play the piano like she used to – including the beautiful baby grand piano that has been in her home for about 20 years. 

Even worse: Doctors told Linda she only has a few years to live.

Incredibly, Linda has not allowed her dire situation to rob her of happiness. Instead, the devout Christian is living her life to the fullest and spreading joy in every way she can – including donating her beloved piano (pictured) to the Brooklyn Park Salvation Army. 

“I knew that was God’s plan to give this piano to them,” Linda said in a touching news story by award-winning KARE 11 reporter Boyd Hubbard, which aired on Christmas Day. “I’m very happy. This is where it belonged.” (Watch the KARE 11 story.)

The Brooklyn Park Salvation Army worship team used the piano for the first time Dec. 10, just one month after reconstruction of the chapel was complete. 

God willing, the piano will continue to be used for decades to come.    

“We are grateful for Linda and her incredible donation,” said Lt. Col. Randall Polsley, leader of The Salvation Army Northern Division. “Her gift is a beautiful example of how God causes all things to work together for the good of those who love Him.”

This holiday season, The Salvation Army is calling on all of our supporters to Love Beyond. #LoveBeyond is a national Salvation Army campaign that encourages people to put love above all else, in order to show families in need that love exists beyond their most difficult situations – be it hunger, overdue bills, eviction, addiction, and other hardships. Join us by giving a donation or signing up to volunteer.

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