WEST POINT — With men coming from states like California, Colorado and Missouri, The Mission in West Point offers rehabilitation in which clients are typically in the residential program for about a year.
The faith-based nonprofit operates out of the old Bryan food processing facility on Church Hill Road, and currently 18 men reside at the facility as part of the program.
In 2017, Dickie Bryan acquired the building, which he expected to be falling apart on the inside with black mold in places. To his surprise, the inside was nearly perfectly preserved. This set Bryan into motion.
“God laid on my heart to buy this building, and I had no idea what God was going to do,” Bryan said. “Some people say it takes a risk, but you really don’t take a risk. You act in faith because there is something there that has told you.”
The Mission helps men 18 and older that need help getting back on their feet after facing homelessness, addiction or simply bad choices they made when they were younger, Bryan said. Though there are 18 men in the program right now, the current capacity is capped at 20. Thanks to donations from Atmos Energy, churches from around the United States and many others, The Mission is going to be able to expand its facilities to accommodate an additional 28 more men.
Men can enter The Mission voluntarily or through court order.
The Mission also shares its facilities with the Dream Center, which is run by Dickie’s grandson Cole Bryan and John Almond. The Dream Center helps provide beds to children who do not have one of their own.
On Tuesday, Atmos announced while converting the facility from electric to natural gas, it also paid for the supplies to help with the conversion. Six months ago Dickie Bryan reached out to Atmos industrial account manager Lance Coe to make the switch to natural gas.
Coe wanted to do more than just helping The Mission save money by switching to natural gas. Atmos used funds from its Fueling Safe and Thriving Communities Initiative to get equipment to help assist The Mission as it transitions to natural gas appliances.
“About six months ago, (Dickie) Bryan contacted us saying they wanted to convert their electric equipment because of their utility bills and go to natural gas,” Coe said. “We took out all of their electric-only hot water heaters and HVAC equipment, and we ended up converting those to a large natural gas hot water heater and two 10-ton HVAC units with natural gas. The donation was just over $20,000.”
Coe said The Mission’s typical electric bill each month was about $500 to $600, but with the upgrades to natural gas, the nonprofit’s bill should be reduced by roughly 30 to 40 percent.
Those working at The Mission are grateful for the donation from Atmos.
“Utility bills can get high when you’re just running off of electricity,” Dickie Bryan said. “Years ago when we got here, I wanted to put gas in. Why we didn’t do that, I don’t know. … We’re excited. Because of Atmos’ gift, we’re going to be able to add about 28 more men here.”
The Mission offers men a two-phase program. Phase 1 can take three to four months for those people to rest and work on their faith before returning to the workforce, Cole Bryan said.
Those in phase 1 still work inside The Mission’s facilities at the Dream Center and make sure cleanliness is maintained. Those in phase 2 enter the workforce while learning and trying to get back on their feet. The men stay at The Mission after beginning phase 2 for typically nine months.
While in the program, men receive classes regarding anger management, financial management, relapse prevention and life choices. Some also work to complete a technical certification class and work to receive their GED.
They attend equine assisted therapy, weekly chapel services, counseling and group recovery sessions. The goal of the program is to help men be able to reenter the workforce and restore their relationships with family.
“God takes good men, hardworking men, some have been here a while and some haven’t,” Dickie Bryan said. “Some have graduated and are back out in the workplace, and that’s our goal. If someone made some mistakes and they didn’t have the opportunity, we want to help them get their lives back together.”
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