Happy Birthday, Louis!

The beginning of each month we have a special day to celebrate the birthdays of the guys who are residents at The Hope Center and are a part of our Foundations Life Recovery program.

This month we are so excited to wish Louis Dennis a happy birthday!! The birthday celebrations are made complete with a delicious cake by our friend Stormy.

Louis has been a part of Foundations Life Recovery program for 11 months. Louis has been progressing throughout the program and could be moved into our Gold Level this month which means he is close to completing the program.

Louis, who works in our Recycling Center, is very happy to talk about how he is growing spiritually since being in the program. In fact, he’s thrilled to tell people that he has even been baptized to show the world his commitment to his relationship with Christ.

We’re so happy to watch as Louis continues to claim victory each day as he continues to overcome his addiction issues and grow closer to Christ.

Join us in wishing Louis a very happy birthday!

If you or someone you know would like more information about Foundations Life Recovery program or would like to talk to someone about how to get help then please call us at 301.739.1165 or email us at hagerstownrescue@verizon.net.



Volunteers Are the Heart of The Hope Center

In 2015 we celebrated 60 years of hope at The Hope Center. And a major part of what makes it possible for us to continue to provide services to men, women & children for free are all the hours of service given by faithful, caring friends in our community who serve as volunteers at The Hope Center.

Since 1955, The Hope Center has been a lighthouse to the needy in our community. Whether it was a man addicted to alcohol, a mother in need of clothing for her children, or a family who needs some food assistance, our doors have been open everyday to help those in need without asking a dime from any of our guests…or the tax-payer.

Friends, businesses, churches and other groups in the area have financially supported us from the very beginning allowing us to help so many people without being a burden on the tax payer.

But volunteers help supplement all of our finances by providing hours upon hours of compassion and hard work in many different ways at The Hope Center.

As we celebrated our 60th Anniversary in 2015, we had some special events taking place in the community which gave us some new opportunities for volunteers to get involved and make an impact in our city. But many of the areas that volunteers gave so many hours were activities and events that happen on a regular basis at The Hope Center.

In total, we had 719 different volunteers work more than 13,394 hours! That’s incredible! This is exactly why we think that our volunteers are the best!

These volunteers worked throughout the year in one or more of the following areas of service:

  1. Sorting room
  2. Wildside Youth events (www.wildsideyouth.com)
  3. Camp Wild (www.campwildusa.com)
  4. Chapel services
  5. Men’s ministry check-in desk and teaching classes
  6. Off site: baking cakes, making sandwiches, providing food for after chapel (these are on a regular basis)
  7. Outreach: 60th anniversary events (Rock the Run 5K; Party-in-the-Park; Ladies’ Tea; Anniversary banquet); Thanksgiving Day and more.

Our volunteers gave in so many different ways throughout the year. And we’re so thankful for each and every one of them!

But our volunteer opportunities didn’t stop in 2015. We are always looking for volunteers to join the ranks of our volunteer program all the time. We have so many different areas for volunteers to get involved.

In fact, our 2016 Party-in-the-Park will be held on Saturday, October 22 at Wheaton Park in Hagerstown. We are currently looking for volunteers for this fantastic outreach opportunity. This is a great service project for youth groups to get involved with in their own community.  We will need volunteers to help with food, games, music, face and nail painting, crowd control, popcorn machine, cotton candy, set up and tear down, etc.

If you, your family & friends, church group, civic club or more would like to volunteer at our upcoming Party-in-the-Park then give us a call today at 301.739.1165 or email us at hagerstownrescue@verizon.net. We welcome you to help us reach our city and provide hope for those in need!

For more information about all the various volunteer opportunities at The Hope Center go to http://www.volunteerhagerstown.com.



Congrats Graduates!

Earlier this summer we were able to celebrate with our residents as three of them graduated from our Foundations Life Recovery program.

Our Foundations Life Recovery program is a free 13-month addiction and life rehabilitation program that helps men conquer the sins that destroy their bodies, relationships and lives. During the 13-months in the program, the men attend classes, Bible studies, and participate in work programs. These classes and programs help to educate the men about their true identity and purpose that God has for them in this life.

Some of the men who join the program have been raised in the church or Christian homes while others are brand new to the life-changing message of Christ. All of the men are dealing with addictions of some sort whether they are alcohol, drugs and pornography. The majority of the guys who come seeking help are trying desperately to stop the destruction of themselves, having already lost jobs, houses, and most importantly, relationships with family & friends.

While in our program, the guys live in our dorm and are fed, clothed and counseled for free, thanks to the generous support of our neighbors, friends, churches and other organizations in the community who fund The Hope Center. Many of the men have nothing left when they walk in the door. But they leave having gained so much for so little!

We are so thankful for the staff, volunteers and churches who help to bring the message of God’s love into the hearts of these men who Satan has enjoyed destroying. For the staff at The Hope Center, to be able to watch our residents graduate is a deeply emotional and incredibly exciting moment. Knowing how dark their lives once were and to see them glowing with the happiness of Christ, it’s a feeling that words can barely describe. Each one of these men was once a forgotten soul that Satan had thought he devoured. But God saw them for their potential in all of their sin and He had something great planned for them.

The men in our Foundations Life Recovery program have a lot of obstacles to conquer. From breaking the addictions, to learning who they can trust, to rebuilding their self value, to dealing with personal demons, there are many roadblocks in the path to recovery but these men who graduated fought the good fight and gave the other guys in the program the courage to continue their own fight to sobriety and salvation.




So join us in congratulating the three men who got the victory this summer. Frank Shortt, Troy Robinson and Bill Rice all completed the Foundations Life Recovery program and were honored at a moving ceremony for them. Staff, family, friends and volunteers were invited to join in the celebratory ceremony where guest speaker, Matt Sargent, spoke. Following the ceremony, graduates, residents, staff and guests all gathered together for a time of fellowship in our dining room.

Jeff Duncan & SisterDSC_0079

We’ve asked each of the three men to give us a brief testimony of their journey towards recovery. Here is what they said:

Frank Shortt

Frank Shortt 2015I came to The Hope Center in September of 2013 out of desperation and loss of hope. Since coming here, God has done something in my life that I, and my loved ones, would never had thought possible.

God has, and is, changing this heart that was hardened and broken. Among many other things, He has given hope where there was no hope.

For now, my future plans consist of building my relationship with God, His Son Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, along with my two biological sons.

Troy Robinson

Troy RobinsonWhen I came to The Hope Center in January of 2013 I was lost, scrambling to gain meaningful sobriety. Not just drinking and drugging, which I had succumbed to, but being able to live purposefully.

While in the program, God taught me that Jesus is the only way. He is the truth. He is the life. The hopeless can find hope in the Almighty. There is victory in Jesus.

My future plans are to finish well, rejoicing in the Lord always. “Let us lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” (Hebrews 12:1)

Bill Rice

William Rice 2015I am 55 years old and I have struggled with alcoholism both as an unbeliever and a believer. Before coming to The Hope Center I attended Bible College but I succumbed to my addiction and fell away from the Lord. So in 2007 I enrolled in the Foundations Life Recovery program and progressed well until I blew it and was released from the program. I attribute my failure to spiritual pride because I had a knowledge of the Word that other members of the program did not.

In 2014 I knew I had to get help and asked to return to the program at The Hope Center. I finished the program and remained sober the whole time. God has dealt a lot with me in the spiritual pride area but He is still working on me.

It is my desire someday to be in ministry, but I find as a graduate that I struggle with handling freedom. I would appreciate your prayers that I would give God total control of every area of my life.


Please continue to pray for these men as they venture out on their own, back into the world where Satan has plenty of temptations waiting for them. Pray that they continue to fight the fight and stay strong in the Lord.

And thank you, to each of you who has invested in the lives of these men and everyone else who has come to The Hope Center seeking help in some form. From prayers, to volunteering, to hosting a chapel service, to donating food, shopping in our Thrift Stores and financially supporting us so we can continue to provide this ministry for free, God has used you to help change a life. You may not realize it or even think about it but these three men, and the countless other individuals and families helped at The Hope Center, are because of faithful friends like you who God has called to help change this city and win it for Christ.

Thank you for partnering with us as we celebrate 60 years and thousands upon thousands of lives changed in Hagerstown!

Where is Your Hope?

One of my favorite hymns, On Christ the Solid Rock I Stand, states in the first verse, “My HOPE is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.” It states in the third verse, “When all around my soul gives way, He then is all my HOPE and stay.”

The ministry of the HOPE Center at Hagerstown Rescue Mission is reaching out to the many who have nowhere else to turn. They are not aware of the blessed HOPE that is Jesus Christ until they find their way to the Rescue Mission. Lives have been changed through the sharing of the HOPE of the Gospel. (Romans 8:24 & 25)

Hebrews 11:1 states: Now faith is the substance of things HOPED for, the evidence of things to come. As this message of HOPE is given to so many who are down and out and have no place else to turn, the love of God through His Son Jesus gives a whole new perspective. Not only are our sins forgiven, but Titus 2:13 tells us, Looking for that blessed HOPE and glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ. We now know where we will spend eternity, and His return could happen today.

But are believers sharing this HOPE, the good news of our salvation? 1 Peter 3:15 says, But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asks you a reason of the HOPE that is in you with meekness and fear.

I praise God for the ministry of the many Rescue Missions founded by my dear Uncle Jim Resh and the HOPE they have given to thousands over the years. As we are living in the end times when the rapture could happen at any moment, believers need to be ready to share the Gospel at every opportunity. We also need to give our support to ministries like The HOPE Center at Hagerstown Rescue Mission.

Lynette Brewer

Written by Lynette Brewer

Lynette Brewer lives in Westminster, Maryland, has been President of the Ladies’ Auxiliary of the Westminster Rescue Mission and has recently become a member of their Board of Directors.

Bowling Does Our Residents Good!

When a guy enters our Hope Center Life Recovery program, he’s making a commitment to getting his life back on track and becoming the man God designed him to be.

But it’s not an easy path for many of our residents. They struggle with many things including their addictions, their past, family and work issues and, often times, the lack of love and acceptance.

Once they join the program they begin to build relationships with other guys in the program and our staff. This bond is a very important part of their rehabilitation. When the men aren’t working or attending life recovery classes, they enjoy playing sports and hanging out in the McKinley Rec Center at The Hope Center.

Our staff knows the importance of leisure activities so they plan various outings during the year. From softball tournaments, to fishing, canoeing, picnics and other activities, our staff tries to build relationships with our guys to keep them pushing through the program.

Recently, our staff took the guys bowling. From the laid back atmosphere to the friendly competition, our guys really enjoyed bowling together!


Here are some pics from the guys’ day at the bowling alley. While going to the bowling alley may just seem like a regular activity to most people, to our guys this is a very important part of rebuilding themselves. These outings are beneficial to their recovery in so many ways.


DSC_1259DSC_1274DSC_1276DSC_1300-001When you donate, whether financially or through in-kind gifts, you are helping to provide our residents with these types of activities. Thank you for your continued support of this ministry and our residents! You may never truly know how important your gift was, but God knows. You’re helping to change lives for eternity!

Happy Birthday, Eddie!

The first Friday of each month is set aside to celebrate birthdays at The Hope Center, and this month we were able to celebrate another birthday with one of our residents, Eddie!


Our friend, Stormy, provided another delicious birthday cake for our celebration!

Eddie has been at The Hope Center for a while and he is nearing the end of his program. He’s been working hard to straighten his life out and allow God to mold him into the man he was designed to be.

We asked Eddie to give us a quick testimony of what God is doing in his life. It’s great to see and hear another story of victory from one of our residents.


“Upon my arrival to The Hope Center I can safely say that I was completely broken.  Between drug addiction and a complete disregard for my own life, I was heading to one of two places – prison or a casket.  I knew of a place called The Hope Center at Hagerstown Rescue Mission where I could go and change my life with God’s help.  I now have one month left in the long-term recovery program here at The Hope Center and I can proudly say that my life is changed!  I now live for God and His glory.  Once I graduate I will be going to Philadelphia, PA where I have been accepted into an internship program through Urban Hope Ministries.  I will have the wonderful opportunity to minister to kids and young adults who have or are around the same life crisis conditions I once had.  God took my mess of a life and is now going to use it for His glory!”

Eddie, just like the other men who come through The Hope Center, was on a path of destruction and death but he allowed God to make the necessary changes in his heart and mind and now he’s a totally new man.

Eddie is fighting the good fight and he’s able to celebrate another year of life thanks to God’s help. Hope has been restored into Eddie’s life and now he’s able to spread the message of hope & change to hundreds of people in Philadelphia.

Eddie is just one of the many men who seek real help from a real God at The Hope Center. Thanks to faithful supporters like you, we are able to provide our residents with a safe environment of love and support to help conquer their addictions and other destructive habits.

When you donate financially or through gifts such as food or gently used items for our Thrift Stores, you are helping to change lives. You may not realize it at the time but it’s true. People like Eddie are made brand new in Christ because of the generosity of loving and caring people like you.

Thank you for supporting The Hope Center at Hagerstown Rescue Mission. We thank God for friends like you because now a person like Eddie is able to change the world for Christ.

If you aren’t familiar with The Hope Center at Hagerstown Rescue Mission and want more info or would like to become a supporter of our ministry then call 301.739.1165 or email hagerstownrescue@verizon.net. Also, check out www.hagerstownrescue.org to learn more about the many programs and ministries we provide to our community.

Letter from our Executive Director

Sonny Shank Executive DirectorAs friends and supporters of The Hope Center at Hagerstown Rescue Mission, I am sure you know that the doors of The Hope Center opened for the first time in May of 1955 on Jonathan Street in Hagerstown. We moved to our current location on North Prospect Street in 1957-58 and from that time on the doors of The Hope Center have remained open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year!

As I was thinking about how God has blessed the ministries of The Hope Center, and the impact The Hope Center has had on thousands of lives over the past 58 years, I imagined for a moment what it would be like if there had never been a Hagerstown Rescue Mission. I can tell you this – the lives of many people would have been extremely different.

Like Bill Crowe who, more than 50 years ago, was transformed by the power of the Gospel and was set free from the bondage of alcohol. Bill is the Director of the Martinsburg Rescue Mission and also pastors a local church. Or like Carl Black who was one of the first men paroled to the Mission. Carl’s life was radically changed when he gave his heart and life to Christ. Carl faithfully served God as a pastor and then as Superintendent of Hagerstown Rescue Mission until God called him home. And I remember Amos Rippeon who lost everything, including both legs, because of his addiction to alcohol. When he came to the Mission he was filled with hate and bitterness. But when Amos began a relationship with Jesus Christ, his life would never be the same! Amos spent the rest of his life here at The Hope Center smiling, singing and being a blessing to everyone he met.

Since those early days, The Hope Center has been God’s instrument for bringing the message of His redeeming love to countless persons. People like Eddie, Howard, Jose, Frank, Kevin, Donnie, Jack, and hundreds of others in bondage to alcohol and drugs have been set free and have gone on to live meaningful, productive lives.

For thousands of needy men, women and children, The Hope Center has been a source of help and encouragement. In their time of need they have come here and found food, shelter, clothing, and other kinds of needed care. So to imagine, even for a second, that The Hope Center never was is not a pleasant thought when you consider the positive impact this ministry has had on so many lives over the years.

I’d much rather picture The Hope Center continuing to serve God by serving others through a Christ-centered outreach of compassion to hurting people. Because of your support, that’s what we will keep on doing! Your involvement is vital to the future of The Hope Center. Thank you for all that you have done! I thank God for your friendship and for your heart of compassion. Please continue to be a part of our efforts to bring hope to the hopeless!

Gratefully your,

Bruce L. “Sonny” Shank

Happy Birthday, David!

Happy Birthday, David Hillman!

The first Friday of each month we celebrate the birthdays of the residents in our Foundations program. And our friend, Stormy, made another delicious birthday cake for everyone to enjoy!

July 2013

This month we get to celebrate with David! David came to The Hope Center in August of 2012 in search of help following the separation from his wife and dealing with the deaths of people very close to him. He was also struggling with the loss of his business due to the recession and his drinking habit.

July 2013 2

David was born in Washington, D.C. and raised in the suburbs. He was raised by very supportive and loving parents. David was married with three children and once owned & operated a residential construction company for 20 years.

But unfortunately things seemed to fall apart for David. And he ended up searching for something he wasn’t sure he ever had.

David recalls having “many religious experiences” in his life but he couldn’t say for sure if he was ever truly saved. Like many Americans, David had questions about the Bible and was even a bit antagonistic at the beginning of his program here.

Now, almost a year later, David says that the classes in the Foundations Life Recovery program at The Hope Center have given him a solid, Biblical foundation and he knows without a doubt that he is a child of God!

David says, “God is changing me from the inside out.  I see how all the aspects of this program have helped me, and I want the other men in the program to have the same experience.”

As his graduation from the program draws close, David is preparing himself to re-enter the workforce and begin a new life. He is praying for work and for God’s guidance for the future.

Please remember to pray for David as he finishes his time at The Hope Center. God has worked in his heart and David is a testimony to the other men in the program about how God can change a life.

Thank you for praying for & supporting this ministry. It’s for men like David that this program exists. And with your faithful support, we’re able to give David and many other guys the opportunity to meet God and change their lives!

A Letter from our Executive Director

Sonny Shank Executive DirectorAs I write this letter it is winter, cold and blustery. As I look out my office window to the street below, I see one lonely man. All his worldly possessions are in a small suitcase and a plastic bag. He slowly paces around, trying to stay warm – soaking up what little warmth the sun is giving on this winter day. He will soon move on and another will take his place.

And so it goes, day after day. Idleness, addictions, hopelessness permeate the lives of these men. But just across the street from where the man paces is a sign – a sign of hope. It says, “Jesus Saves!”

I often wonder why God allows winter. I have to come to the conclusion that it is to remind us of the hopelessness of our lives – the coldness and darkness of our lives – and the bleakness of our lives without Christ. It is because of the hopelessness of winter in our lives that Jesus Christ came to earth to die on a cross, to be buried, and then to be raised from the dead by the mighty power of God! And it is during this Easter season that we are reminded of the newness of life that only Jesus can give! If you are living in the winter of your life, Jesus Christ wants to give you hope for life eternal with Him!

This year marks the 58th year of ministry here at The Hope Center at Hagerstown Rescue Mission. Thank you for your support throughout the years which makes it possible for us to meet the needs of the least, the last and the lost of our community. Our founder, Dr. Jimmy Resh, fondly called this ministry “the old lighthouse” and for 58 years, because of caring people who pray for us, financially support us, and give of their time and talents, “the old lighthouse” continues to make a difference in the lives of thousands of people – calling them out of the darkness into the light of the marvelous Gospel of Jesus Christ!

Thanks to your support, many men have entered this building of hope and have taken possession of the hope that is offered here. Just this past year Howard passed through the doors of The Hope Center, despondent over the loss of his wife. Suicidal, having lost all hope. Howard once again experienced the love of the Lord Jesus Christ and won the victory over depression.

Frank had lost everything of value to him – his job, his wife, his family – because of alcohol. Today he has hope and is walking in victory because he came face to face with the only One who gives lasting hope – the Lord Jesus Christ.

Kevin lived a life of negativity, addiction and self-centeredness. However when Kevin heard the message of hope through Christ, he dropped the negativism, the addictions,  and the self-centereredness and gave himself to Jesus.

Thank you for standing with us to share the message of hope to men, women and kids. May our great God bless you and your family this Easter season!


Sonny Shank

Voices of Hope

A lot of the work that we do at the Hope Center is geared to helping families in need and homeless men. But one of the most important ministries that we have is our Foundations residential ministry.

Foundations is a 13-month life recovery program. It exists to help men who want real change in their life. Whether their lives have been destroyed by drugs, alcohol, bad relationships, gambling or all of that, our program is dedicated to helping these men kick their addiction, recognize their need for Jesus and help them to rebuild their lives, self-esteem and broken relationships.

Foundation residents eat, sleep and work at the Hope Center. They have morning jobs and then attend various classes in the afternoon. Each evening the residents go to the chapel service hosted by various area churches. Once a resident has accomplished all levels of the program, they receive a diploma recognizing their accomplishments over the 13-month period. During their time at the Hope Center, the men build relationships with each other, our staff, local churches and most importantly, Jesus. These new relationships equip them to return to society “a new man” enabling them to begin rebuilding broken relationships and restore trust from their former life.

We asked our men to take a few minutes and answer a basic question for us about the Hope Center. Below is the question and then some of the residents answers follow. We want to give you an opportunity to read how your support is helping to bring hope and change to the lives of these incredible men. Many of the men come from situations that we couldn’t even imagine. So to read about their transformation is just giving praise to a powerful, loving God.

How has the Hope Center at Hagerstown Rescue Mission been able to give you hope?

By showing me there is another way to live! Which is living for God. Which before I came here I was living for myself, not caring who I hurt in the process. Since being here and graduating the 13-month program I praise God for a place like this. This Hope Center has given me so much whether it be a roof over my head or food or clothing. But the main thing for me was getting to know my Lord & Savior Jesus Christ who gave His life for me. I’m a sinner saved by grace. This Hope Center gives guys like me a chance to change my life and to have a relationship with God. The key word here is change. And that is what the Hope Center is all about. The staff here bends over backwards to make sure guys like me get a chance at a new life with the Lord. But God gets all the glory. Proverbs 3:5-6


Jesus has used the Hope Center to strengthen my relationship with Himself. And is using the Hope Center to teach me what I lack most, how to love unconditionally.


I am glad to be here. I feel God chose me to be here. The Hope Center gave me hope. I have Jesus Christ in my life. I am clean and sober.


When I first came to know Christ, but had no confidence of the things God could do in my life. Now I have hope in God, that all things are done for His glory. I’m learning to rely on Him for everything. Also I’m learning to overcome my fears. And last I have hope for my future.


God gives me hope. The Hope Center provides a safe environment so I can learn the word of God. Most of the staff has tried to understand and help me though my trials.


When I first came here I didn’t have anything or anyone to really believe or rely upon. As my stay as a transient extended I became aware of how special this Mission could be for someone of my capacities. As I got farther along with my life as a transient I could see the hope that could be realized at this Mission. So I decided to look into the fact of what was behind all this hope that I was seeing. So I started talking and asking some questions of the staff and found out what or who had a hand in giving all this hope. So I decided to look for that hope and start upon a fellowship with Jesus Christ. I learned I didn’t know as much as I thought I did about what it took for a relationship with Jesus Christ. I just hope that I can live up to the standards of this Mission and fulfill my walk with the Lord.


These are just a sampling of some of the responses to that question. As you can see, God is seriously working in the lives of these guys in the program. Thank you for being a supporter of this ministry. Please continue to support us but most importantly, please pray for the men in our program. They face a lot of temptations as they try to change their lives. So please keep the men, our staff and the families of these guys in your prayers.

If you would like more info on our residential program, Foundations, or you know of a man who needs help and you are interested in starting the application process for enrollment then please call our office at 301.739.1165 or email us at hagerstownrescue@verizon.net. We can answer any questions and help guide you along on this process.