Posts by Alexxa Gagner

Alexxa's Bio

Alexxa Gagner

Alexxa is the Director of Public Relations at Denver Rescue Mission. She moved to Denver from Phoenix more than four years ago to follow a boy who eventually became her husband. But Denver had more in store for her than a man (Awwww!). She feels there’s no other explanation for her employment at the Mission, except for God’s guidance. Alexxa started as the Public Relations Coordinator and became Director in July 2011. Her favorite part of her job is the people; she loves the staff, program participants, interns and volunteers. She has spent the last four years making everyone smile and spreading the Mission’s heart to the masses. She also fills the hall with laughter, loud laughter. If she could be any celebrity, it would be Bill Gates because he uses his great power with great responsibility. She hates night lights, kind-of likes spin class and loves anything coconut. Also? She was supposed to be a boy named Alex.

125 Years Strong: Lon Gregg

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In an effort to highlight the Mission’s 125 Years of Changing Lives, we wanted to spotlight a very special employee. Lon Gregg started at Denver Rescue Mission in 1989. He is the Mission’s Spiritual Director and has been here for almost 28 years.

Lon had a huge role in creating what is now called the New Life Program. Years ago he spent some time at a Rescue Mission in Chicago when he needed help with his own addiction and getting his life back on track. Lon has a huge heart to serve those experiencing homelessness, and we wanted to ask him a few questions.

How does it feel to be Denver Rescue Mission’s longest standing employee?

“Standing” is the key word. I’m thankful to God for the health to be still active in this great work. I’m glad every (or, almost every) day to get up and come to work here

Can you share what brought you to work at Denver Rescue Mission?

After leaving a pastoral position in a church, I worked for several years in a condo management company. My wife Janet saw a position listed in the newspaper for a couple to be houseparents at a new program at the Mission in an apartment building on Champa Street. By the time we answered the ad, the concept had changed, and they were instead looking for someone as director of the Lawrence Street Shelter. I thought I could be more useful working in a ministry than on condos, so I applied, and began at the Mission in August 1989.

What has changed the most since your first year?

Mostly, size. There were somewhere between 8 and 22 people on staff when I began and we had only two operations, the Lawrence Street Mission and Harvest Farm. (Champa House was not yet open.) In Denver, everything that’s now housed in the Ministry Outreach Center, The Crossing, and the Admin and Education Building all took place in the confines of the Lawrence Street Shelter. Things were cramped, and things have mushroomed!

Is there a particular person who has helped you grow in your career or influenced you in your ministry?

This may sound like an overly pious answer, but I think my years in getting to know Jesus better has had the most effect on my career in ministry. I have only very imperfectly followed the Savior, but His life (past and present) has impacted me most deeply.

What is the strangest thing that’s ever happened at the Mission?

Many strange things have happened! The sitar music outside the walls of our downtown facility comes to mind. I was in my office at the corner of 23rd and Lawrence one day around lunchtime and heard loud Indian music coming through the air conditioner. (There was no window in the office in those days.) Investigating, I found a Hare Krishna van parked at “Triangle Park” across the street, loudspeakers blaring. The van was manned by folks in orange robes, handing out sandwiches to the needy folks gathered across the street. I remember thinking later with pride that our message, the “Jesus saves” sign, had hung outside that same corner for so long. We had a message to proclaim, underlined by years of commitment, telling the world that our Christian faith was concerned about our needy neighbors, a faith that was determined to do something about it for the long run.

What is one of your best memories at the Mission?

My best memories are transformed lives. Some years ago I led a small group of New Life Program participants in a discipleship program. One of the young men, a heroin addict with a lengthy criminal record, graduated and has now gone on to be a leader and evangelist in his church. He has maintained this strong testimony for Christ for a number of years. He holds promise of being a Christian leader in his home (he is now married with a child), and in his community, and maybe beyond, for a lifetime. Stories like this bring great joy; what more could one want in life?

We’re so grateful to have Lon at the Mission. He is a calming presence who makes an impact every day by encouraging our program participants and other staff members to find strength in our Lord and Savior. Here’s to another 28+ years, Lon!

Adventures of a Rescue Rider :: Day 1

Day one, check. 75 miles, check. The butterflies are gone…at least for today.Day 1 - Alexxa blog 3

Last year, at this time, I was 8 months pregnant with my daughter. Sweet Caroline. She has brought my husband and I so much joy. And so much less sleep! The love we have for her grows more each day. But I didn’t have a clue how hard being a parent would be. I also had zero thoughts of getting on a bike before or after she was born.

When I committed to Break the Cycle, Caroline was only about 4-months-old. My body still felt completely out of wack. I thought I would never feel strong again. I officially started training in January, just trying to get my body back to normal. My gym is right next door to an ice cream shop and I will admit after a 15 minute workout on the stationary bike, I would walk over and grab some ice cream to go…of course. (I only did that a few times)

On a more serious note, I can’t even begin to know what some of the men and women who come to the Mission are feeling when they first walk through our doors. Weak. Tired. Desperate. Hungry. If just an ounce of my training pain, and the pain I will feel tomorrow as we ride over 100 miles and gain 7,000 feet of elevation, is helping people who are hungry and need a place to lay their head, its all worth it.

Day 1 - Alexxa blog 2 Day 1 - Alexxa blog 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quick summary for you: Six months of getting back in shape. Three months of outdoor biking. Dozens if Cliff bars and shot blocks, gallons of Gatorade, gobs of sunscreen, extra padded shorts. Hot days and some cold ones.

Lastly, I had hoped to be riding alongside our fearless CEO Brad, but he went and broke his foot. I think it might actually be harder for him to stay back and cheer us on from afar. Thanks Brad for the opportunity to do something truly unforgettable.

The Lawrence Street Community Center Will Open

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Brad Meuli President/CEO

I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for praying with us! We recently learned that Judge Mullins has reconsidered his ruling on the opening of the Lawrence Street Community Center and we are authorized to push ahead with opening once construction is complete. Together with the City of Denver, we are thankful for this opportunity and pleased that we will be able to serve anyone who comes to us for help at this new facility. That’s what we believe it is all about, loving and serving our brothers and sisters.

Again, a huge thank you to all who have been supportive in so many ways!  We could not do this work without the community behind us! 

We are hoping to open very soon! Construction is nearly complete. Stay tuned for details!

 

The PR Desk: Moving Day!

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I’ve worked in this building for five years. The old building just under the I-70 viaduct at Colorado Blvd. has never been a glamorous location. The basement, where my office was – even less glamorous. But that’s not why I work at the Mission.

The old Admin office building.

The old Admin office building.

I work at the Mission because there is good work being done here. I work at the Mission because every employee cares. I work at the Mission because God is present.

As a new chapter in our history begins, I say goodbye to this place where I have grown in my career and as a person. Even though the stairwells were narrow (I tripped on those stairs more than once!) and the bathrooms weren’t ideal, it was a warm environment. Some of our employees worked in this building for 20 years!

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Looking ahead to our new location, we are excited to integrate into the Park Hill neighborhood. It is directly across the street from The Crossing and three blocks from the Ministry Outreach Center.  It will be a privilege to work in a brand new building. I’m also looking forward to new relationships being built, engaging in this community and well…I have to be honest, we are just a few blocks away from Sonic!

One more thing, if you need to get in touch with us please be patient! Our servers will be moved first and will be down for a short time.

Our new home.

Our new home.

 

 

 

The PR Desk: All About Ads

Second by second we are inundated with advertising through TV, radio, social media sites, and even the ‘old-school way’ – the mail.

I personally think that advertising can be valuable. It keeps us informed of unique events, special offers and opportunities in our community.

But sometimes ads can be negative – especially those political ones. (Ouch!)  Our online activity even dictates the ads we see. Pixels on our computers track our purchases, Facebook actions and much more. It’s scary!

At the Mission, we advertise through direct mail, email marketing, TV commercials, print ads, and online ads. Most of our ads can be seen in the fall/holiday season. That’s when the needs are great and we need to reach our community for support! Each year we carefully plan out our budget with an emphasis on stretching each dollar as far as it can go.

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We often are asked WHY we spend money on advertising. Without ads we may not reach the people who give so generously to this organization. Thousands of people across Denver and Colorado are part of the big picture at the Mission by supporting us financially as well as in other ways. A lot of times, they learn about us through various ads/marketing.

You may see our Easter commercial running right now.