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Mission renovation under way

April 02, 1999|By MARLO BARNHART

Without a lot of fanfare, Hagerstown's Union Rescue Mission is well into the first phase of a $750,000 renovation project.

Bricks and mortar and makeshift ramps are evident on the west side of the site of the Mission complex, which has operated for 44 years at 125 N. Prospect St.

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Jesse Deloe, national director of a church development program called DMA, is working with Mission directors and staff to raise funds necessary to complete the ambitious project.

"We want to make things easier for the work that is done to rebuild men's lives," Deloe said. "No one is interested in putting up any monuments here."

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In that spirit, the renovations have begun with construction of a new entrance way to connect the administration and dormitory buildings. It is expected to cost about $150,000.

"New offices will go in the northern building," said Bruce Shank, mission director. At the same time, wiring is being upgraded, extended and modernized throughout.

A major capital fund drive kickoff banquet is scheduled for June 24, Shank said. The Rev. Jerry Falwell will be the keynote speaker.

Falwell was a close friend of the late Jimmy Resh, Mission founder, who passed away in the spring of 1996.

The Mission was founded by Resh in 1955 and is continued by his family.

"Their commitment is 24 hours a day, not just 9 to 5," Deloe said of the Resh family and the Mission staff.

Deloe came to Hagerstown in early November to act as a facilitator for the project.

"I will spend about three days a month here for six or seven months, developing a plan, arranging a campaign calendar and donor solicitations," Deloe said.

The DMA firm, which operates out of Winona Lake, Ind., is in the business of assisting churches with capital fund-raising.

Shank said the construction will be done in three phases as money is raised. It could take from one to three years to complete the project.

In Phase II, plumbing and heating systems will be replaced at a cost of about $450,000.

The final phase, additional renovations to the dining room, dormitory and other rooms, will cost $150,000.

Shank said the renovations won't affect the shelter's day-to-day operations.

About 35 men stay at the mission each night, Shank said. Many of the men are involved in the mission's substance abuse rehabilitation program.

"But we don't just work with men. There are programs for children and other outreaches," Shank said.

A private, nonprofit organization, the mission also provides hot meals for dozens of people a day, runs a thrift store, and the Trinity Center for large events.

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