The early years of Faith Mission were devoted to helping Columbus’ most desperate men. Many of them were addicts or alcoholics. The first executive director, Arthur Basye, said in a 1978 Lantern article, “One of the reasons we started the mission in 1966 was to help people with a drinking problem.” Mr. Basye said that he could relate to these men because he too was an alcoholic. In the article, he states “If a man is in a rut, he has to be told he’s in a rut before he can climb out. If he needs a boot, then we’ll give it to him.” At first, the Faith Mission staff did that through hot meals and worship services. Later, they added beds to keep the men off the streets and out of the flophouses where drinks were plentiful. And, of course, compassion, understanding and tough love were dispensed when needed.
Many such men found safety and peace at Faith Mission. One man, Jack Lillis came to Faith Mission for shelter and stayed for six years. He became the Mission’s handyman, housekeeper and all-around fixer-upper. He felt safe there and wanted to give back. He became a fixture around the Mission. He was just one example of what the power of showing those in need dignity, respect and kindness can do. Faith Mission has served countless men and women since its start in 1966 but the mission remains the same. To create a better world by serving people in need.