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home : opinions : commentary March 26, 2015

1/24/2012 1:05:00 PM
My Turn: The best welfare program in America will always be a good job
Bryan Detwiler
Bryan Detwiler
Bryan Detwiler

It has been a great honor to serve this community for the last 13 years as CEO of Old Town Mission. I am so blessed to have had a role in helping tens of thousands of people make their lives better.

I, of course, have not been alone in this endeavor. It has taken tremendous effort and generous support from volunteers, donors, staff and of course the grace and provision of God.

From humble beginnings we have worked together to make the Mission what is widely recognized now as an innovator and model in addressing poverty.

In the last three years, in spite of one of the deepest recessions in our country’s history, we were not only able to buck the trend of many non-profits that have had to cut services, but have grown considerably.

I believe this is due to our principled stand of not accepting government funding and through the use of market strategies to create jobs. Our ability to feed the growing number of people has also grown tremendously.

From a staff of three in one facility to now having four facilities with a staff of 27 to date.

Along with our beautiful compassion services of food and clothing, we have operated a thriving thrift store, multiple recycling businesses and a nationally recognized recycled glass business. I have endeavored to bring a level of professionalism, excellence and faith in all that we do.

This passion is reflected in our programs and businesses. I have been guided by the strong conviction, that the best welfare program in America is a good job. God graciously has blessed our efforts.

I have done my best to take principled stands and to bring about positive change, whether it’s fighting for lower taxes, a better school system or the rights of the impoverished.

My stands have not always been popular, this I know, but I have always been true to my beliefs.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve with you.

Bryan Detwiler served as the director and CEO of Cottonwood’s Old Town Mission for 13 years.

Related Stories:
• Old Town Mission tightening its belt
• Letter: We’ll miss Detwiler and Lightfoot
• Major turnover at the Old Town mission

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Reader Comments

Posted: Monday, January 30, 2012
Article comment by: Maybe I missed something

Mr. Detwiler used to be a mime?

I was a clown for a few years.

How do I get one of those six figure jobs?

Posted: Thursday, January 26, 2012
Article comment by: Gaia Gurl

You DO know that Bryan Detwiler USED to be a MIME, right?

I'd like to know how you JUMP from MIME to SIX FIGURES and you're NOT Robert Shields!

Posted: Thursday, January 26, 2012
Article comment by: No problem with salary

I have no problem with Mr. Detwiler's salary.

The appropriate yardstick by which he should be measured in this particular matter are financial. If he built OTM, and did it responsibly, sustainably, ethically, and created lasting value, then he or anyone else in this job is worth every penny.

Those that envy or begrudge him, or for that matter anyone making this kind of money, are probably those that are angry and bitter at life in general, and frustrated at their own lack of success, financial and otherwise.

Judge not and ye shall not be judged.

Posted: Thursday, January 26, 2012
Article comment by: Frank Lee Confused

I'd like to sign up for that welfare program and get a good job too! But seriously, I don't get how recycling glass and selling used clothing to the poor can generate revenue required to pay such killer salaries. Did this cash come from donations? If so, what percentage of charitible contributions actually are used to help the needy? 50%? 10%? 1%?
Before you donate to a non profit do your homework. Good deeds are wonderful, but how do these numbers add up?

Posted: Thursday, January 26, 2012
Article comment by: Gaia Gurl

No, I am a teacher, I have NEVER worked for GOD, INC.

I have never had ANYTHING to do with the Mission as a volunteer, employee or in any other capacity.

I do not give to MILLION dollar charities, too much room for CORRUPTION. I only give to small, grassroots, organizations they appreciate EVERY dollar and are more apt to use them WISELY.

AGAIN, that is why I use Guidestar!

I am NOT saying the Mission is corrupt, but I KNOW there is NO government oversite on NON-PROFITS, I am the former founder of one. Once you get the status, as long as you file the yearly reports, NO ONE bothers you. So just HOW MUCH do you KNOW about the charities you give to?

Please explain to me how another God, INC., the MORMON church can spend 8 million dollars to defeat gay marriage in CALIFORNIA and how that is legal?

According to 501(c)3 status, non-profits are NOT to engage in political campaigns . . . PERIOD or they are supposed to get their non profit status revoked. Obviously, you can see how that worked out.


Posted: Thursday, January 26, 2012
Article comment by: gossip stopper

To Gaia Gurl: So in your judgment you donít think Mr. Detwiler earned every penny, he was an over paid leader. At least the way I understand your comment I know Bryan on a personal basis, unlike you who is quick to pass judgment and who knows, maybe you are one of the ex employees who was let go because of gossiping or just wanting to get paid to sit around and act as though youíre the perfect person or maybe youíre the person who thought it was wrong an employee was not rehired after the employee was arrested for some felony charges. Bryan worked hard for the Mission. Along with Godís help Bryan not only worked to help those in need, his leadership is unlike many. Bryan created money to help support those in need, without the governments help. Bryan was able to start a successful thrift store. This store does not only help support the Mission, but also created jobs. But in your opinion and Dear John, you are quick to point out what Bryan earned. From what I have been reading, it sounds as though people would much rather tear down the Mission, than help it grow and succeed. I can only pray and hope the Mission will continue to be successful, if it makes it. And Gaia, my question to you: are you a previous employee? Are you just one of those angry people? If you were in Bryanís position, Iím sure you and Dear John would tell the board to cut your pay in half? I highly doubt it! Why donít you both arm chair quarter back something else?

Posted: Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Article comment by: Shock n Awe

For not knowing them you sure do defend.
It isnt negitivity, its the truth -I checked. I have no problem with Mr. Detwiler's salary as he has been in the possition for 13 years. What i can't fathom is that Carrie Lightfoot has been with the mission for 3 years and makes a $67,292.00 salary with $9,677 in benefits...what's she doing to earn that?

Posted: Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Article comment by: Gaia Gurl

TEACHERS make no where near THAT! Try about 30K on average in this RIGHT to WORK (for low wages) state. Teachers have to pay for college and continuing education . . . they also pay for a LOT of their supplies.

Mr. Detwiler worked for a CHARITY, in a SMALL town whose medium income is $26,ooo. It is NOT a national charity or even a STATE one, just ONE little town.

"Founded in 1858, the YWCA USA is a women's membership movement nourished by its roots in the Christian faith and sustained by the richness of many beliefs and values. . . .The YWCA is the oldest and largest multicultural women's organization in the world. Across the globe, we have more than 25 million members in 106 countries, including 2.6 million members and participants in 300 local associations in the United States. More important than the numbers, is our mission to eliminate racism and empower women. We provide safe places for women and girls, build strong women leaders, and advocate for women's rights and civil rights in Congress."


The YWCA is a WORLD WIDE organization and their CEO, Lorraine Cole only gets $233,722.

I would never give to a LOCAL CHARITY that pays their CEO that kind of money . . . that is why I use Guidestar. Non profits tax returns are made PUBLIC for a REASON.

I did not KNOW you could get RICH . . . helping the poor?

I suppose you ALSO think it was JUST FINE that the BANKSTERS made MILLIONS in bonuses AFTER they got bailed out by taxpayers.

Posted: Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Article comment by: Shelly Brookshire

Dear Geepers,
It is isn't negativity, it's frustration. Not only did Bryan D. rake in nearly 100,000 a year, but so did his co-worker Carrie Lightfoot. Those are awfully hefty salaries for a very small town non-profit, especially when those two worked the least, and the least hardest, than the rest of the staff, who were paid much much less, and all of the volunteers, who were paid nothing.
Thank you Gaia Gurl for sharing that website info with the community. It's high time for some proper perspective at OTM.

Posted: Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Article comment by: Geepers... Does the Negativity Stop

Wow, you two. I have never met Mr. Detwiller and I know little of the Mission's inner workings. He was trying to say something good and you drilled him. Gaia Girl, who cares how much he made. You have a good job too I suppose. Should we put your salary and benefits up here too?
I think that was low shot. Do you have a personal problem with the Mission and it's purpose or just the ex CEO?

Posted: Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Article comment by: Gaia Gurl

Sure was GREAT welfare.

The 2010 tax returns show that Mr. Detwiler made $71,330 in salary and $23,203 in BENEFITS.


It is FREE to register and SEE for yourself!

Posted: Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Article comment by: Dear John

Yep, and your welfare job has ended leaving many to ask why.

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