Huntington County Salvation Army Honors Late Captain

Apr 13, 2018

The Huntington County Salvation Army will honor the late Helen G. Purviance for her contributions during World War I. She became known nationally as the “Doughnut Girl.” 


Credit Huntington County Salvation Army

Captain Helen Purviance was born in Huntington in 1889. She joined the Salvation Army and gained recognition after being among the first women to aid U.S. troops on the frontlines in France.

Huntington Salvation Army Captain Dennis Marak says she volunteered to go abroad to help during the war.

“The did worship services, they sang songs. They were there for the guys and she was the one that suggested that the Salvation Army go over there and take care of our boys,” said Marak.

Purviance came up with the idea to bake doughnuts to give the men a small reminder of home. Under the harsh conditions had to be creative but after some adjustments they baked as many as eight thousand doughnuts a day for the troops.

After returning home, Purviance traveled across the country speaking about her experience and she became known as the “Doughnut Girl.”

This Saturday, the Salvation Army of Huntington County will honor Purviance from 11 to 2 p.m. at the Huntington County Courthouse.

Marak says she was important and become a well-known Huntington native.

“She changed generations. The young men she went over and helped, they came back and talked about how the Salvation Army helped them. For generations people’s lives have been changed,” said Marak.

He says people in the area need to be proud because great things have come out of and continue to come out of Huntington County.

The Salvation Army will provide fresh doughnuts and refreshments. There will be a historical presentation and a state recognition of the fighting that took place during World War I. Historical artifacts will also be showcased.