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…Read More
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…Read More
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…Read More
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.Read More
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…Read More
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…Read More
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…Read More
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…Read More
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…Read More
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…Read More
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…Read More
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…Read More
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,…Read More