GREAT FALLS — Since 1963, the Great Falls Rescue Mission has been a major resource for those who are going through struggles, ranging from homelessness to addiction.
In celebration of 60 years, members of the Rescue Mission and donors gathered at the Heritage Inn in recognizing the accomplishments made over the last several decades.
Great Falls Rescue Mission Development Director Carrie Matter explained what made this year's banquet so special.
"It's an incredible thing to celebrate, not just for the Mission, but for our community," she said. "When you look around this room, you see the love and support that people have for our homeless neighbors and just wanting to take care of them."
The meals were accompanied by music and stories of people who have been helped by the Rescue Mission.
"Every person in this room, their lives have been touched by the ministry and the work of the Great Falls Rescue Mission." Matter said. "I think it truly takes a community to make great work happen."
Dwight Smith, who served on the board for the past five years, explained what makes the Rescue Mission so essential.
"The transformation in people through the Mission has been unbelievable," he said. "It's my pleasure to serve here, and I've seen lives changed so much. I call it 'the oasis.' It's a dessert out there, and the Mission is an oasis. "We're all broken to a degree. We take people who are broken, addicted, and they are changed and transformed for Jesus Christ, and that is so rewarding. I love the passion that is exhibited here. Everybody wants to help people along their path and to eternal life through Jesus Christ, and it's happening right here every day."
60 years of successfully serving individuals and families in a time of need, challenges arise along the way. Despite those challenges, Matter said their motivation will continue to grow. She noted some services they are looking to expand include mental health, adding medical providers, as well as increasing outreach for people on the streets.
"There's always a cause for self-evaluation and making sure that you're effective at what you're doing," Matter said. "You always want to be better at what you do, mainly for the sake of the people that you're helping."