In 1963, a former lumberjack-muleskinner was called by God to start a Rescue Mission in Great Falls, Montana. Harold Ross had just a few hundred dollars of seed money and a vision to partner with the local churches to share Jesus with homeless men.
A building was rented in the “skid row” area of town and the Great Falls Rescue Mission began its ministry to the least, the last and the lost. In October of 1973, his dream to purchase a building was fulfilled and the Martin Hotel building at 326 2nd Ave S became the new location of the Great Falls Rescue Mission.
The following ten years, the Rescue Mission continued to serve the needy and “less-fortunate.” Due to Harold Ross’ declining health, Joe and Judy Thompson were voted as the new Superintendents of the Rescue Mission on April 21, 1983.
Progress and Growth
In 1985, a children’s ministry was established by Frank King called “The Downtown Kids Club,” where he continued to minister until his retirement in 2003. However, the work with at-risk children continued and was led by various Youth Directors the years after his retirement. Between 1985 and 1997 the Lord continued to bless the ministry with additions such as medical clinics, a kid’s camp program, a commercial washer, and computer technology. An area in the building was renovated in 1986, which expanded the ministry of the Great Falls Rescue Mission to homeless women.
In 2002, the building that had formerly housed the Salvation Army Hospitality House was purchased as the future home of the Women and Family Shelter. The remodeling was completed in 2005 and the shelter was dedicated and opened. Also noteworthy during this time was the development of a Christ-centered recovery program for women- Humbled Hearts Christian Discipleship Program (HHCDP)- and the addition of a Youth Director position.
Serving from the Heart
Over 50 years later, the Great Falls Rescue Mission still reaches out to homeless men, women and children. Many changes have occurred over the last 50 years of the Great Falls Rescue Mission Ministry; however, one thing that has not changed is our commitment to meet the needs of the whole person: spiritually, mentally and physically.