“No one could have imagined the miraculous turn of events that would follow the ragged bum who staggered into Chicago’s Pacific Garden Mission on January 19, 1897. Knocking over chairs as he entered, he was so drunk he couldn’t even come up with his name. Unemployed, broke, unkempt and wearing little clothing, a cruel snow storm that night had pummeled his already despondent soul to absolute hopelessness, even selling the shoes off his feet to buy one final drink before an intended lethal plunge into the icy waters of Lake Michigan. God had another plan.
At the pulpit was Harry Monroe, a converted alcoholic who had become Superintendent of the Pacific Garden Mission. At the close of the service, Mel (accepted Christ)… was free of the desire for alcohol and never touched it again. (Three years later) when the City Rescue Mission of Grand Rapids was preparing to open, founder Harry Monroe tapped Mel Trotter to head up the work as Superintendent.
Mel genuinely cared about people. Compassion flowed from him and when it did, people knew it was the love of Christ Himself that touched them. Harry Monroe taught him how to develop and oversee a mission. Thus Mel cut his teeth in Chicago and gained his legs in Grand Rapids. Then, in franchise-like fashion, he set about replicating the rescue mission with its various features everywhere he could. City Rescue Mission of Saginaw was the very first of some 67 missions Mel was responsible for establishing across the United States.”
– To read the full history, request a complimentary copy of Lighting the Way Home by local author Gary D. Warner.
Since 1966, Ken Streeter has immersed himself in the Great Lakes Bay Region. Originally a youth leader at First Baptist Church/Bridgeport, his focus shifted the day he began volunteering at City Rescue Mission of Saginaw. Because he was driven to make sure every needy and homeless person in the Great Lakes Bay Region had access to rescue mission services, the time came to expand facilities which called for the first relocation in half a century.
The former Eventide Home for Seniors, once an upscale apartment built in the 1920’s, became available for purchase at $125,000. Remodeling the 30,000 sq ft building along with equipment purchases would require an additional $75,000… nearly a quarter of a million dollar project! Yet rescue mission friends enthusiastically responded to Ken’s vision and the facility – our current facility – was dedicated on June 5, 1982.
In 1991, a turn of events expanded Ken’s vision in a way he didn’t anticipate. Ken says, “We didn’t particularly have a desire to grow or take on more staff or more responsibility, but we realized that if there was going to be a home available for senior citizens who depended solely on Social Security benefits for their livelihood, the rescue mission would have to accept the challenge of restoring and reopening Saginaw County Community Village.” And so it happened, on Mother’s Day of 1993, Community Village reopened as a licensed home for the aged. Here, senior citizens receive high-quality, professional loving care, are surrounded by neighbors for companionship, and are prepared three nutritious meals each day… regardless of their ability to pay.
Fast-forward ten years when several Bay area agencies asked for the help of City Rescue Mission in establishing a similar service in Bay City. Despite the economic downturn our country took during the dark days of 2001, the Good Samaritan Rescue Mission’s campaign budget was fulfilled and the facility open for service in early 2005.
Part of the rescue mission’s long-term strategic plan was to open a mission thrift store. And so, in 2010, Ken made this happen. The rescue mission has always been a favorite donation site for used clothing and household goods. Not only do these donations meet some basic needs of the homeless, the excess provides shopping alternatives for both low-income and the frugal shopper. In turn, the proceeds provide an additional revenue stream for the rescue mission. Talk about feeling good about a donation!
Today, Ken Streeter serves as Director Emeritus for City Rescue Mission. His leadership and vision brought the organization from one employee and a $40,000 annual budget to one with four divisions, 100 employees, and a $4.5 million budget. Though that’s a pretty good resume, Ken Streeter sees it as just another day of serving people!
Dan comes closer to having Rescue Mission ministry flowing in his veins than any other Mission staff member. His earliest Mission experience was helping to serve Thanksgiving Dinner at the age of 8 when the Saginaw Mission was located on the corner of 3rd St. and Lapeer. Growing up on the “Mission Farm” gave Dan the opportunity to become acquainted with homeless men before he finished grade school.
Dan graduated from Pensacola Christian College with a BA in Youth Ministry. He began his ministry career as a youth pastor and high school math teacher in Covington, Georgia. This career direction was interrupted by the Lord when he and his wife felt called to minister in Saginaw as the Men’s Discipleship Program assistant at City Rescue Mission in 1992.
Dan has held numerous positions during his Rescue Mission career. He initially served as mentor/teacher for men in the Mission’s Discipleship Program. He later became Director of Men’s Services. When the Good Samaritan Rescue Mission opened in Bay City, Dan was asked to be the Director of Operations. This position offered him the opportunity to serve, with his wife Barbara, similar to the way he had seen his father and mother minister together in the Saginaw Rescue Mission.
The Rescue Mission board of directors called on Dan to become the Mission’s Executive Director in 2010. This change of roles with his father was made to smoothly facilitate a transition in Mission leadership without waiting for the move to occur during a time of crisis. Dan’s administration has led the Mission through a time of significant change. He has initiated a theme of “Moving Forward” which has been used to guide program development and Mission fundraising. He has focused on offering men and women employment readiness training with an end goal of full employment. Simultaneously Dan has lead the Mission through a capital fund drive that has made it possible to offer homeless people clean, safe, modern shelter with communication tools that facilitate job readiness.
In 2014, Dan was elected by his peers in the Midwest District to a 3-year term on the board of directors of the Association of Gospel Rescue Mission (AGRM), a national network of rescue missions that raises awareness of homelessness in our nation, provides overnight accommodations and solutions to homelessness, increases best practices among its member missions, and provides educational resources for staff working in missions.
Dan is moving forward with the vision of his father by lifting the frail and down-trodden of Mid-Michigan. Under his leadership, Rescue Ministries of Mid-Michigan is effectively ministering to the poor, the homeless, and the elderly.