By Lex McMillan

Bruce Dietrick, the Executive Director of the Adams Rescue Mission (ARM), started his work at the local shelter as a volunteer chaplain before being hired as Director of Men’s Ministry in 1983.  In recognition of April being National Volunteers Month, he celebrates the indispensable role that volunteers play in the life of the Mission ( ).  They are, he says, simply a “critical component.”  Although there are currently fewer than 20 volunteers serving the Mission in a variety of ways, the small paid staff would be crippled without them. Their work includes sorting donations, driving a truck to pick up furniture donations or recycling, and offering Bible studies for residents. Dietrick says, “we can always use more.”

One of those volunteers spoke with me recently about his work at the Mission.  He’s a recent arrival having moved to the area a couple of years ago following a 40-year career working as an intelligence analyst for the Department of Defense.  He said he loved going to work every day because of the intellectual challenge: “It was like solving a jig-saw puzzle.”

He has brought his zest for problem solving to his three half-days-a-week volunteer service at ARM.  He’s focused on bringing order to the stacks of donated books and DVDs that arrive in disorderly bags or boxes every day.  He’s become aware that book dealers and antique collectors regularly visit the Mission’s Thrift Shop looking for treasures.  He’s on a mission to discover them before the pros do and is clearly enjoying his work.

He was delighted recently to discover a signed, first edition of a John le Carre’ novel. Rather than put it out on the shelves where it might fetch a couple of dollars, he listed it on eBay where it sold for $185.  He’s having similar success with other items like four books on World War II which sold for $130. Of course, all proceeds are going directly to an account he set up at ACNB to benefit the Mission.

He says he does volunteer work simply because of the pleasure it gives him to be involved in the community and meet interesting people.  He’s come to know some of the regular shoppers at the Thrift Store and will put things aside for them to consider.  He’s also enjoyed meeting young adults who help at the Mission as part of their alternate school program or to complete court-ordered community service.  He hopes he has helped a couple of them chart a better path for their futures.

Like most volunteers, he thinks he gets back more than he gives.  Reared as a Lutheran, he’s not currently active in a local church, but says he’s living his faith through community service.  He’s especially grateful for his volunteerism having deepened his sense of his own good fortune: a satisfying career, caring parents, a loving wife, and their two grown sons.

The Adams Rescue Mission exists to proclaim the passion of Jesus toward the hungry, homeless, abused, and addicted; to accelerate recovery and restoration to the least, last, lonely, and lost.  Lex McMillan is a board member of ARM.

To support the Mission: