Rescue Mission Ministries

Mission Statement

Helping hurting people in Jesus’ name

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History of The Rescue Mission

On the third day of August 1942, Gus Johnson staggered into a Rescue Mission on Chicago’s Skidrow. That event became the pivotal point of his life. A violent, dirty, alcoholic criminal was transformed into a person of integrity, kindness and…

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The History of the Founders of the Rescue Mission

Gustaf Adolphus Johnson was the baby of 13 children born to an affluent Swedish family in 1897.

The son of a well-known architect, Gus led a rather sheltered existence amid servants and tutors and a houseful of older brothers and sisters. He was…

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New Missionaries in Roanoke

When the Johnson’s got off the train, they went to 111 East Salem Avenue. The building was dark and dirty. The floor was littered with trash and cock roaches scurried along the walls. In a corner of the darkened room they found a fellow under…

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Open Every Night

Gus and Lois opened the Rescue Mission on Salem Avenue on July 2, 1948.

Between 1948 and 1950 the Johnsons, with the help of Dr. Robert A. Lapsley, Jr. of First Presbyterian Church, managed to keep the mission open every night.

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The First Board of Directors

In 1950, two years after their July arrival, the Johnsons convened a group of men to become the first “Rescue Mission Board of Directors.” It was at this time that the Rescue Mission became incorporated and received the endorsement of the Roanoke…

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Move to First Street

In 1959 the Johnsons went to an auction held at Natural Bridge. A used truck was purchased at auction for $300.11 (11 cents over the next highest bid!) and home pick-ups were made to bring donated inventory for the two stores the Mission operated…

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Help for the Children Sees Growth

By November of 1962, the “Children’s Work” of the mission had grown from one class on Saturdays to four classes during the week. The “Happybag Program” had grown to accommodate hundreds of children at Christmas. Laundry facilities were added to…

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New Home on 4th Street

The Tazewell Methodist Church and adjoining property were purchased as a future site of the Mission. The condemnation suit with the City had been settled to the satisfaction of the board. TA Carter was asked to design the new mission building to be…

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Celebrating 50 Years

Joy and her husband John and their two children (Anders age 7 and Jon Kara age 28 days) moved to Roanoke for Joy to begin work as Director of Development and Outreach on May 1, 1986.

In 1986 the Rescue Mission had 13 staff members and an annual…

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Addition of Store and Women & Children’s Center

The Art On A Mission Store was opened at Tanglewood Mall to give the Mission the opportunity to sell at a higher price the antiques and collectibles that come into the Thrift Store. To make the store consistently viable, the addition of local…

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Continues to Be an Open Door

Lois and Gus’ vision of a Rescue Mission that was open and available to all people, supported by many and open 24/7 to people in need, has become a reality. Today the Rescue Mission is the largest homeless shelter in the state of Virginia and with…

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Tours

If you’ve seen one rescue mission—you’ve seen one rescue mission. That is why we hope you will take us up on the invitation to come and experience the Rescue Mission of Roanoke for yourself. See it with your own eyes. Talk to some of the folks…

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Leadership

Rescue Mission Board of Directors

The Rescue Mission Board is composed of 24 dedicated men and women who are passionate about their faith and the work of the Rescue Mission. These board members are representative of many different denominations,…

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Financial Statements

The Rescue Mission is supported by the generous donations of our community partners who have “cheerfully” supported its ministries since 1948. All gifts to the Rescue Mission of Roanoke, a 501(c)(3) organization, are received with gratitude and are…

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