The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on May 1, 2001 · Page 29
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 29

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Location:
Salina, Kansas
Issue Date:
Tuesday, May 1, 2001
Page:
Page 29
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TUESDAY, MAY 1,2001 MAKING A DIFFERENCE Kmetz presses a mission resident about whether he has made a sincere effort to change destructive behaviors. i^6t luiich together at Coyote Canyon In Salina, Steve Kmetz prays with Leona McCoy, owner of Sallna Christian Supply. One of the mission residents had stolen Items from the store but returned them and admitted the theft. ! Salina man devotes l^to rescue mission I yter cancer scare HOTOMY BY MICHAEL YOUNG I -J: ityingon an operatingtiab|e, ); Steve Knaetz opened hisr I ii 'ieyes and saw nothing'b^t • white,fThere was a respirator tube in liis moutii. He was unable to move his left Srm. -Earlier that year, Kmetz's doc- fer said he might have cancer. * Dujring a biopsy, Kmetz went into fespiratfiry arrest. Eventually he Same to. He had survived. And he fficin't|ave cancer. He decided he 6^ede4 to get closer to God. J That was July 2,1979.; Kmetz said je never looked back. Hi) sold his • gusines? and home and'went backid jjchool. He gradukted.|rom Mid- i' America Nazarerie Cb|ege |n Olat^^ • |iM981i, writh a .iegreiin religioii.fBy ' |987 ;h ^'d .gotten Wpialsi ^r 's in:;'' ' divinity:' • v (sl-\''r ' ^-v' :'-V "During a chapel service, I really felt compelled that I would be working with the down and out, the poor, the downtrodden, the inner- ^ty church somewhere. I didn't' Hjow where, but somewhere," he S.J , r , I .- - • , ^ In Augus 't 1987 he took ajjof at |||e Kansas City Rescue Mission as Jl^ociate director. He came to the ^|lina Rescue Mission in 1994. The glina mission is a non-prmt agency men'over IB who have.fj 'pwhere „je to go. The mission alsp *.offers die ^w Life program for |m ^ri'willing to OTmmit-^lp Jesus Christ cftl^ to complete a three-^art course ^f self- OTiprovement. - iV • Kmetz, now 50, said only a fraction of the men fmish th .e New Life program. Often, he said, they lack self-discipline and self-motivation. The handful who do complete the program have been able lo overcome obstacles and become successful, he said. As a child, Kmetz said he lacked self-confidence and self-esteem. Hiis past helps him identify with the • men at the mission, Kmetz said. The men appreciate the help he provides. "When I first got here, I thought I was going to be a nobody all my life, but Steve has changed that," Marcus Wayland said. "I wasn't much into God, but now I'm into it a great deal. God can do great things for the world, for us, and he's with us all the time, through thick and thin." Wayland said he hopes to get his high school diploma and eventually become a police officer. Ken Jennison, a public service director for the six EBC Inc. radio .J. stations in the Salina area and a ; member of the mission's board, said Kmetz means a great deal to the men ': at the mission. "That shows in the way that he acts and responds to them," Jennison said. "He has their welfare at heart and tries to help them any way he can." Kmetz also credits the board of directors of the mission, volunteers, and the men of the mission, who devote a great deal of time and energy to the cause of (he mission and to helping each other. Kmetz speaks to a different church service in Salina every week. Kmetz said he believes the public must understand that there's an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of the men. He also spends time raising money for the mission and conducting food drives, Kmetz would like the mission to have more specialized staff, such as a psychiatrist. He'd also like to start a work program through area businesses. He said he plans to stay settled in Salina. On his desk sits a tiny frame with these words; "Some men look for tall steeples and big bells; give me a Rescue Mission one yard from Hell." People in the audience place hands on Raymond Wood after his graduation from the New Life program. The ceremony was held at the Salina Heights Christian Church. Most residents who enter the program do not graduate, Kmetz says. lEFT: Kmetz gives a tour of the Rescue Mission to Malcolm and Jo Lee, The pair were visiting missions across the United States. FAR LEFT: Kmetz studies quietly In his office early in the morning. He likes to play golf to relieve stress built up from a week of work at the mission. "When I first got here, I thought I was going to be a nobody ail my life, but Steve has changed that." - Marcus Wayland

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