For more than three years Mission residents have policed trash twice every month along a 2 1/2 mile stretch of Triviz, in support of the City’s Adopt-A-Spot program.
Such acts of selfless service are an integral part of Mission life.
Each year we redouble our effort to keep Las Cruces clean for Toss No Mas, which took place on 15 October.
This year Tara, Wesley, Valerie, Brett, Lisa, Robert, Rhonda, Billy Joe and Thomas picked up trash along our part of Triviz between Missouri and the Kohl’s turn.
Pictured here are Wesley and Valerie. Mission residents appreciate the help they get from the citizens of Las Cruces.
This is their small way of expressing that gratitude.
To improve physical security at the Shelter, the Mission engaged Precision Video & Sound to install 19 security cameras.
“In the past, Mission residents have been victims of thieves and drug dealers,” said Randy Smith, Shelter Director. “Now we’re catching them on video.”
In the first month of operation, our cameras helped LCPD solve two thefts and a case of vandalism.
The high resolution cameras are motion activated and can zoom to provide great detail.
The array cost just over $11,000, “but it’s been worth every cent,” said Smith. Here, owner Dave Jacko, puts a final adjustment on one exterior camera.
Last year the Mission had to repave a large section of our blacktop.
As one of our preferred vendors, Welch Dirt Works won the work.
Within a year we discovered a defect which steady firetruck and garbage truck traffic made much worse. Within days of getting notice of our problem, Welch had a repair crew on site, and by 5 October had repaired the pavement under warranty.
That’s why we like Welch Dirt Works!
For Wylene Saunders, Clothing Room Manager, Monday the 3rd of October proved to be anything but routine.
When she unlocked the front door to open for business she noticed at least one small hole in the door, of the kind bullets make in thick glass. Sometime over the weekend someone had shot the glass door. “We had just posted our name and operating hours,” on this door, she thought.
It looked so nice. And, as she wondered to herself how easy the repair of such a small hole might be, the entire glass collapsed into small pieces. “Luckily no one was hurt, but safety glass leaves a big mess to clean up, and I wonder who does this sort of thing?”
Who thinks it’s a good idea to hurt an organization that helps others? The Clothing Room exists just to give away clothing to the most vulnerable in our community. In early August, more than 620 school children from around the County received complete wardrobes for the school year, including new shoes, new underwear, and new socks. And, so far this year volunteers have distributed more than 80,130 items of clothing to 2,240 people.
According to Chris Choo, the Mission Chief Financial Officer, the unbudgeted door repairs amounted to $325.71 . A modest sum to be sure, but entirely unnecessary. And for a charity existing entirely on private donations even small expenses become significant if they’re unplanned.
For those interested in a gratifying volunteer opportunity in the CR, call Wylene at 575-642-9619. Operating hours are from 9-11am on M-W-F. Donations are accepted 24/7 at the Front Desk of the Shelter at 1050 W. Amador.
After enduring the dark and difficult side of life for more than 50 years, Geoff Walters found purpose at the Mission. Geoff’s personal growth, while serving honorably since October 2013, speaks to the reason the Mission exists. But, Honor is a word that would not easily attach to his life before the Mission.
Geoff grew up in Flint, Michigan, the sixth of eight children to a single mother. His father was never in the picture. Even working two jobs, his mother could not support her family. “When I was six my mother put me and my younger brother up for adoption.” The rejection and personal turmoil he suffered while living in 16 different foster homes left him mean, angry and rudderless.
By the age of 12 he’d been a regular smoker for two years. Geoff recalls he was “running wild in the streets, obnoxious and rebellious”. By 14, he was using heroin. By 18, he was in prison for burglary. And for the next 17 years, until 1990, Geoff was either in prison or on parole.
Geoff’s health has suffered as well. Fifty years of smoking has taken its toll. He was a cook for 43 years before COPD disabled him. “I cooked graveyard at the TA Truck Stop on Motel Blvd until emphysema made it impossible to continue. I came to the Mission because I was broke and sick.”
Geoff serves as Men’s Supervisor. In that role, people have come to know him as generous, tolerant, and a calming influence. People talk to him because they trust him. “I like helping people. I like my life at the Mission. I am content”.
His tough life has taught Geoff to be direct. “People complicate simple stuff. God has put me where He wants me to be. If I didn’t think so, I’d be somewhere else. When I leave the Mission, it will probably be feet first in a gurney.”
Life in a homeless shelter is stressful. And, though he’s available 24 hours a day, Geoff disappears at times to listen to God. Those quiet times give him peace. Randy Smith, Shelter Director and Geoff’s boss, says “Geoff has stress Teflon. Nothing bothers him.”
Geoff’s early, dark days stand in stark contrast to the light that now guides him and the light of his experience he shares with others at the Mission.
Deputy Chief of Police, Justin Dunivan, visited the Mission on 26 September 2016. Topics discussed included ways the Mission and LCPD can expand and improve their partnership.
Police patrols now respond to calls for assistance from the Mission and the Mission takes in those that patrol finds on City streets who have no safe place to stay.
The relationship is now moving to a new level.
In August, the Mission installed an extensive security camera system which, in less than three weeks, proved useful in solving two thefts and the destruction of property. “The camera images are very high resolution,” said Deputy Chief Dunivan who thanked the Mission for their community support.
He offered the Mission a forum with with patrol officers to describe how we serve the most vulnerable in the community without enabling their behavior. “The Mission holds its clients accountable for their conduct. I think that is very important.”
Once again this year, the Gospel Rescue Mission sponsored the great desert Horny Toad Race, organized by the Mountain Bike Club.
So, very early on Sunday, 11 September 2016, Robert Ramos and Wesley Collins delivered and set up tables and awnings to support the race. Each year, the Horny Toad Race attracts hundreds of cyclists from all over western US and Mexico.
On 14 September, the leadership of Moose Lodge # 2081 donated $1000 to the Mission.
Pictured here are L-R: Treasurer Billy Lucero, Administrator Darryl Gerber, Senior Regent, and Prelate Willie Apodaca.