Rescue Mission Recognizes Those “Deeply Loved”
Posted September 15, 2017 – Daily Press
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VICTORVILLE — The Victor Valley Rescue Mission recognized the donors, volunteers and staff who’ve helped the nonprofit serve thousands of needy individuals throughout the High Desert.
The 9th annual Appreciation Banquet, held Thursday at the Holiday Inn in Victorville, was attended by Victorville Mayor Gloria Garcia and First District Supervisor Robert Lovingood, who praised the VVRM for its part in improving the lives of men, women and children.
With the theme, “Deeply Loved,” over 400 people attended the event that celebrated the accomplishments of the VVRM over the last year. Some of those achievements included nearly 46,000 volunteer hours, 36,915 meals served and 9,632 nights of shelter.
“Everything we’ve accomplished was done because of the Lord and the support of everyone in this room,” said VVRM Director Bill Edwards. “Today is payday — we get to see a portion of the lives that have been transformed.”
During the dinner, VVRM Life Recovery Program Director John Schmidt interviewed Tom and Carrie Gordon, who shared their message of redemption, which included nearly two decades of drug addiction, jail time, the breakup of their family, a failed marriage and “finding Jesus.”
“I wasn’t going to take Tom back until I saw some real changes,” Carrie Gordon said. “But I saw major changes and they were for the better. He was clean, he got a full- time job and he was a totally different person. God made that possible.” Schmidt said Tom Gordon is one of the many graduates whose life has been changed by “turning to God” and walking through the process of the recovery program.
A video presentation shown at the event told the story of Charles Lollis III, a man who found purpose through God, the VVRM and his new job at the mission’s thrift store in Hesperia, which came through the Welfare to Work Program.
Event emcee and First District Director Regina Weatherspoon-Bell invited Garcia, Lovingood and representatives from the offices of Rep. Paul Cook and Assemblyman Scott Wilk to the stage to recognize the Gordons and Lollis for “being overcomers.”
“The funeral for Charles’ grandfather was just before the banquet and many of his family came to the banquet to support Charles,” VVRM Community Relation Coordinator Dawn Seeley told the Daily Press on Friday. “It was pretty moving for everybody that knew Charles.”
During the evening, Edwards introduced a movie trailer for the upcoming film, “Same Kind of Different as Me,” a story that shines a spotlight on homelessness, compassion and faith.
“We’ve been given 500 tickets for a local red carpet event for the movie premiere on Oct. 18,” Edwards said. “We’d like our supporters and anyone interested in the film to attend.”
Starring Greg Kinnear, Renée Zellweger, Djimon Hounsou and Jon Voight, the Pure Flix Entertainment film is scheduled to be released on Oct. 20.
The nonprofit is still pursuing the purchase of the former Victor Elementary School District building on Sixth Street and property across the street, Edwards said.
“The future includes vision, expansion and growth,” Edwards said. “That includes purchasing the two-story building, which would include housing, a 30-bed emergency shelter, a place to serve meals, office, storage and a chapel.”
Upcoming events for the VVRM include Thanksgiving dinner on Nov. 21, where the nonprofit expects to feed over 1,800 people and hand out over 300 food baskets. The group’s Christmas Toy Giveaway is scheduled for Dec. 29, where 3,000 new toys will be given to children of the High Desert.
Established in 2000, the VVRM became a part of the Rescue Mission Alliance in 2008. The nonprofit provides homeless men with opportunities for spiritual and physical recovery.
The VVRM outreach services include hot meals, clothing, blankets, hygiene kits, food pantry, and a direct link between hospitals, clinics, and other health related and community based services. The Residential Recovery Program offers addiction recovery, biblical counseling, vocational training, transitional housing and a computer learning center for men.
The transitional housing program helps graduates find and maintain stable employment, save money toward their own permanent residence and continue the long road of recovery.