Special from the Adams Rescue Mission
By Lex McMillan
He is a tall, slender, athletically fit Black man in his 40s. He has a shaved head and a ready smile. We talked recently by videoconference on Facebook. He came to the Adams Rescue Mission for shelter about two and a half years ago. He had a full-time job at the time, but he wasn’t making enough to provide for his family since he and his wife had separated. He had no place to stay.
He hadn’t planned to be at the Mission for very long, but after going through the required four-month program, a job opened there. He was selected and has proven himself a valuable staff member handling a diverse array of responsibilities from managing the truck routes to overseeing the sorting and selling of recyclable materials and negotiating with buyers. He sees it as a stepping-stone to a more stable and independent life.
Although born in New York City, he grew up in the country upstate reared by his grandmother. He notes the almost complete absence of male influence in his early life. His father was murdered when he was only three. His grandfather had a stroke when he was just seven and was thereafter in long-term hospital care. Through his teens he worked as a trail guide on a nearby horse farm run by some “hippies.” Woodstock was nearby although the famed music festival was history by the time he arrived.
He finished high school and started college but dropped out after less than a year to help care for his grandmother. In his early 20s he went back to New York City, took some wrong turns and found himself in prison. He served four and a half years, including a grim year on notorious Ryker’s Island. Not eager to go into details about that dark experience, he said simply, “It was bad.”
After prison, he traveled some but through a friend found his way to York, PA, where he learned about the Adams Rescue Mission and found his way here, spent a brief time at the Mission, got work, met a girl, got married, fathered three children, and seemed to be finding his way until he wasn’t.
As ARM Executive Director Bruce Dietrick often observes, there is no single definition of success at the Mission. Dietrick says of this client and colleague, “he has goals, aspirations.” His time at the Mission has given him a stable foundation that has allowed him to use his gifts to improve his future. He will leave with strong, positive references. It will have been a stepping-stone.
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 an ARM board member.
To support the Mission: http://www.adamsrescuemission.org/donate-now.