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Montana Rescue Mission Thanksgiving

Executive Director Perry Roberts reflects on his career at Montana Rescue Mission on Thanksgiving Day. After eight years leading the Mission, Roberts plans to retire in December. 

After eight memorable years working with the hungry and homeless men, women, and children of our community, my time as executive director of the Montana Rescue Mission will come to a close at the end of the year.

I made this difficult decision in 2017 because of health issues I was facing at that time. After making the announcement to the MRM Board of Directors, we immediately began to work on a transition plan to ensure that MRM did not miss a beat.

As I reflect on my time here and on the long 60-plus-year history of the MRM, I remember the men, women, and children who went from homeless and on the street, to transformed lives, to housed and employed.

In my tenure here, that’s what I’ve tried to accomplish – life transformation. In my time, MRM became “more than just a shelter” providing three meals and a bed. MRM now walks with our guests through their journey addressing their homelessness, unemployment, addictions, physical and mental health, and faith.

MRM doesn’t do it alone. We do it with our community partners: Friendship House, RiverStone’s Healthcare for the Homeless, Family Service, St. Vincent De Paul, CLDI, Montana Food Bank Network, Community Crisis Center, Tumbleweed, HRDC, Costco, Walmart, Lucky’s Market, Van’s IGA, the Mental Health Center, Rimrock Foundation, Billings Police Department, Family Promise, United Way, Continuum of Care, and too many others to list.

But most importantly, it is you, our donors, who make transformed lives possible. Without you, we could not serve the hungry and homeless on your behalf. It is only because of you that MRM accomplishes life transformation. I thank you for that honor!

My hope for the future is that MRM will remain as the “go to” resource for the homeless in our region. I pray our community with MRM at the forefront will tackle inebriated, low-barrier shelter; sober transitional living; affordable housing; intact family shelter; and state of the art facilities. All of this to transform lives.

The truth is MRM wants to do this, and we stand ready. But the reality is MRM has operational shortfalls. Donations are down. Our retail Bargain Centers are struggling to compete with online vendors. As you know, we can’t do more with less.

But here is the other truth, we can do more with your support. I ask you, will you join in the dream with me? Will you make a significant donation to the men, women, and children of Montana Rescue Mission? Together, we will accomplish so much.

Thank you for a memorable eight years. I pray for blessings on my successor, the board of directors, the staff, and the donors of the MRM, that together, we will transform lives.

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Perry Roberts is executive director of Montana Rescue Mission, which operates a men's mission, a shelter for homeless women and their children, a thrift store and provides free evening meals to those in need in Billings.