Originally created 03/19/03

Shelter obtains building



The Augusta Rescue Mission will have more space to serve disadvantaged men in Augusta, thanks to a new office building that opened Tuesday, the group's director said.

"The new building provides space for our office, allowing us to have more space for classrooms for the men in the program," said the Rev. Brian LaFavor, the mission's executive director.

The Sam Pursley Administration Building at 520 Walker St. was once a residence for a previous director, said Nick Carter, a member of the mission's board, but was renovated with the help of the mission's 25 clients.

"It's a really nice office, and it frees up space," Mr. Carter said. "The men here keep up the gardens, plant flowers - they do a really good job of keeping them up."

The building is named in honor of Sam Pursley, who has worked with the Augusta Rescue Mission for the past 35 years, the Rev. LaFavor said.

"It's a good feeling to know that you've served the Lord by serving your fellow man," Mr. Pursley said.

The mission houses more than 50 men overnight, giving the homeless and disadvantaged a place to stay, the Rev. LaFavor said.

In addition, the mission has a program to help those with alcohol or drug problems, he said, serving about 25 men who want to get their lives back together.

"We try to help people who want to rehabilitate, get jobs and become productive citizens again," the Rev. LaFavor said. "For the first 6 months, the men work and live here, but are mainly in classes - it's like a spiritual detoxification."

The classes range from studying the Bible to learning job-hunting skills, writing resumes and managing personal finance, he said.

The mission is dependent on private contributions from individuals and groups, the Rev. LaFavor said.

Reach Jeremy Craig at (706) 823-3409 or jeremy.craig@augustachronicle.com.