It began as a dream. It's 1949 and local fishermen leave behind the docks of Pensacola to work their way through the Gulf of Mexico. When they return from a hard day's work, their catch put money in their pockets. But, for many of them, it doesn't last long. Eventually their drinking leaves them broke and alone on the street with no place to go. That is until Waterfront Rescue Mission opened its doors.
The dream was to give hope to these hard-working fishermen who had lost their way. Waterfront Rescue Mission fed them, clothed them, offered them a warm bed and told them the Good News---that God loved them and would forgive their sins. As a result, thousands of lives have been changed.
Waterfront Rescue Mission has since grown into a full rescue and recovery organization for those in need. Offering many assistance programs, including homeless shelters, community care centers, drug and alcohol recovery programs, career development programs, educational and vocational training along with graduate programs.
Waterfront Rescue Mission has been a place of hope for the hopeless since its founding in 1949. From Mobile to Pensacola and all the way to Ft. Walton Beach, the homeless men and women who come to the shelters experience God's love. Waterfront Rescue Mission is still feeding them, clothing them and giving them a safe place to sleep. Most importantly, they still experience the Gospel, through words and actions.
1949 - Waterfront Rescue Mission founded under the leadership of Rev. Vernon Hozey
1956 - Rev. William Wooley became Mission Director
1963 - Dr. Ed Gray became Mission Director
1972 - New Hope Home, an alcohol and drug recovery program, opened in Gulf Breeze, FL
1985 - Fort Walton Beach Shelter opened
1989 - Assumed operations of an existing rescue mission in Mobile, AL
1991 - Dr. Ed Gray retired and his son Leo Gray became director
1992 - Men's Career Development Program opened for graduates of New Hope Home
1992 - Certified Excellent by the Association of Gospel Rescue Missions (formerly known as the International Union of Gospel Missions)
1993 - Women and Children's Shelter opened
1996 - Began supporting First Priority Clubs in High Schools and Middle Schools
2002 - Career Development Program opened for women
2004 - Mobile Bargain Center converted into temporary relief center for locals affected by Hurricane Katrina
2008 - Mick Breault, the former President of Waterfront Rescue Mission's Board of Directors, was installed as the new President of Waterfront Rescue Mission
2009 - The Women's Program expanded with a new home for the women in the Career Development Program.
2010 - Waterfront Rescue Mission's first Recycling & Donation Center opens in Pensacola, FL
2011 - Cantonment, FL Bargain Center Opens
2012 - Pensacola Men's Shelter relocates to 348 West Herman Street, expanding services and opening a Day Resource Center