by Guest Bloggers Chris Strode & Scott Bonovich
Thursday, August 4, 2011 will always be remembered as a very special day in the recent history of Union Rescue Mission.
On that day, four gentlemen from UGL Limited, an international Fortune 500 company, came to URM for the sole purpose of meeting and interviewing ten men who had graduated from our CLDP Life Transformation program. The interview process was set-up and arranged through John Kennelly and Will Nicklas of Toyota Motor Sales, USA who took time from their own very busy corporate schedules to mentor the ten Alumnus over the course of eight weeks. It was a day that changed lives forever.
Brantley Wheeler – Senior Director of Operations, Rodney McSheridan – Director of Operations, Robert Pugh – Regional Facility Manager and Jason Rawls – Operations Manager from UGL Services along with our two friends from Toyota Motor Sales, USA met in the board room where they heard from Andy Bales, CEO of Union Rescue Mission, Chaplain Steve Borja, our Chief Programs Officer and Chaplain Rodney Tanaka, chaplain of our men’s graduate groups – Apprentice and Nikkos. Also present were the ten men interviewees. During the presentation, Andy Bales shared, “…the best part of my job is watching living miracles like the men sitting with us today who have reached past the level of responsibility and accountability of their lives and job functions…they have taken ownership and remained teachable in the process.”
After a tour of our downtown facility, the men from UGL Services got a first-hand glimpse at what is involved in true Life Transformation, coming away from the tour with admiration for the participants as well as the manner in which URM utilized every available space to its maximum, “…far more,” they said, “…than so many other facilities they worked with”.
At the culmination of over 8 weeks of mentoring and job preparation, the ‘hour of decision’ arrived. Two offices were used for the interviewing with the URM alumni receiving last minute coaching from their mentors, John and Will.
The process took several hours with heightened tension and anticipation; “…like expectant fathers waiting for the delivery…” according to John Kennelly. Nobody knew the outcome, nobody really knew what to expect – least of all those ten courageous men going through the interview process, men who only a little over a year before, had come to URM tired of the mean streets, tired of their way of life and looking – needing – to be transformed.
By 4:30 Thursday evening the interviews were completed, and the UGL representatives met to systematically compare notes and began requesting specific men return to meet with them. We would have been delighted had even one of our alumni been offered a job; ecstatic with two. But that Thursday was a very special day indeed…THREE of our alumni were offered immediate employment and a further four were offered jobs in the immediate future! Seven out of ten! Had this been baseball it would have been a Hall-of-Fame day! And perhaps as important were the first words from Senior Director of Operations, Brantley Wheeler and Director of Operations Rodney McSheridan who chorused, “When can we do this again?”
Our hope, as time goes on, is to share even more about community involvement in Union Rescue Mission’s Life Transformation programs as we continue to build upon our Job Development Program. Lives were changed on that very special day; the lives of 10 courageous and hardworking men, the lives of 4 unique executives from UGL Services, the lives of 2 very special friends from Toyota Motor Sales, USA…and our own.