1/19/2012 1:11:00 PM Editorial: Job well done by Bryan Detwiler
If Bryan Detwiler had been able to write the script for the how and why of his departure from the Old Town Mission, no doubt it would be different from the conditions that currently exist.
But even if the end game is a little messy, it should not overshadow the job Detwiler did for the past 13 years as executive director of the Old Town Mission.
Just as Jesse Gamble did before him, Detwiler provided a level of leadership and vision that dramatically transformed the mission from its humble beginnings as a “soup kitchen.”
From the very beginning, Detwiler worked to transform the mission from an organization that gave a hand-out to one that promoted a hand-up. He often cited the mantra of “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day … Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”
The mission’s services of compassion were always in the forefront of daily operations: The Day Resource Center provided disadvantaged people with food, clothing, hygiene products, hot meals, showers and job referrals. The mission also offered a free vision clinic, free legal consultations, the food-plus program for seniors, backpacks and school supplies for children, and holiday food and outreach programs.
But equally noteworthy was the Mission’s focus on putting these same people back to work. The Isaiah Freedom Works Social Enterprise Division provides employment, job and life skill training to disadvantaged individuals. OTM expanded its operations to include the Mission Thrift Store, textile recycling, metal recycling, used book resale and an Ebay store.
Under Detwiler’s direction, the Mission became a community resource and source of pride for the Verde Valley.
The bottom-line measuring stick for any leader of any organization is if he left it in a better situation than it was when he took it over.
In Detwiler’s case, there is no comparison from the organization he inherited to the Old Town Mission of today.