On Nov. 8, 1994, Steve Kmetz walked into the Salina Rescue Mission for his first day as executive director. Last week he walked out a retired man, headed for his next pilgrimage. Steve Kmetz is this week’s BANK VI Hero of the Week.
Prior to his tenure at the Mission, Kmetz said he was studying to be a pastor. He began volunteering at the Kansas City Rescue Mission during that time. His time at the Kansas City Rescue Mission helped guide Kmetz to Salina. When he arrived, he said his goal was to leave the Mission and the Community a better place than he found it.
“The greatest joy is watching a man turn his life over to God,” Kmetz said. “And then watching him blossom with the fruit that comes from living that lifestyle. It is also awesome to watch that same type of growth in persons who come as staff or volunteers or board members.”
Kmetz said one of his goals, when joining on at the Rescue Mission, was to get the community to better understand those who use it. “I just want the community to realized that all of these men have brothers and sisters and moms and dads somewhere. They may be our neighbor down the street.”
Through programs provided by the Mission, such as building concrete park benches and sheds, Kmetz attempted to bridge that gap between the community and the men who use the Mission. Kmetz called these programs a “win, win” for the community, the men and the Mission.
“We didn’t do it to compete with contractors. We just wanted to let the men have some input and learn some skills,” Kmetz said. “It was more than just learning to become a carpenter, there are many life skills that can be learned that are truly repeatable.”
Before leaving, Kmetz helped select and train the next executive director, Chad Young. He and his family are moving to Arizona at the end of the month.
“I am walking out very fulfilled,” Kmetz said. “Not only does the Rescue Mission have great leadership, but God has another assignment for me.”