Local Rescue Mission Leader Receives National “Lifetime Achievement Award”
Brother Bryan Mission Executive Director Tom Zobel Applauded by National Gathering of Rescue Mission Leaders
Orlando, Fla. (May 24, 2012) – Birmingham’s Tom Zobel, who directs Brother Bryan Mission, received the annual Russ Reid Award for Lifetime Achievement, from the Association of Gospel Rescue Missions (AGRM) Conference in Orlando, attended by almost 800.
“Tom and Debbie Zobel have had quite a journey together,” said Russ Reid CEO Tom Harrison, as he presented Tom the award Monday night. “They served City Rescue Mission in Muskegon, MI; Union Gospel Mission in Salem, OR; and Tom is currently Executive Director at Brother Bryan Mission in Birmingham, AL. He is an example of living your faith through rescue ministry.”
Before Rescue Ministry, Zobel had led a thriving business in Nashville, until alcohol and other distractions so undermined his family-life and business that he lost everything. Drifting west for two years, when he hit bottom in Salem, Oregon, he finally took refuge at Union Gospel Mission.
Tom sought only a meal and a safe place to sleep, but through the Mission his life was transformed: He quit drinking, studied Scripture and got involved in a church. After finding good work he often volunteered at the Mission. Eighteen months later, feeling compelled to reach those who remain lost, he gladly went to work for the Mission, making half as much.
Two years later, married to Debbie, they moved to Michigan, where Tom became Director of City Rescue Mission in Muskegon. Debbie led the Women’s ministry. In 1987 they returned to Oregon to lead the Family Ministry of the Mission that in 1980 helped change Tom’s life.
“The Association of Gospel Rescue Missions is very proud of Tom and Debbie and the ministry they have performed for over 30 years,” said AGRM President John Ashmen. “They have had a significant impact on hundreds of men, women and families, helping start once-defeated lives on a road of transformation and restoration, and encouraging other Missions.”
Zobel became an AGRM board member 1994, and in 2003, Vice President. After he retired in 2008 and they moved to Birmingham to be near children and grandchildren, he began helping Missions there. Last July Tom stepped out of “semi-retirement” to lead Brother Bryan Mission (BBM) in Birmingham. In September BBM launched a New-Life Recovery program. The Mission sleeps 62 to 68 people a night and serves 130 to 180 meals a day. BBM provides recovery and Bible classes, life-skill assistance and Christian counsel, to help turn lives around.
The annual award - which has previously honored Mission leaders in Ohio, Missouri, Colorado, Washington, British Columbia and Florida - is named for the founder of Russ Reid, a long-time supporter of AGRM.
Reid, who retired in 2000, started the company that bears his name in 1964 to serve the marketing needs of nonprofit organizations. Today the company - part of Omnicom Group Inc., a global marketing and corporate communications company - provides marketing, public relations and direct response counsel to over 80 Rescue Missions in North America.
Colorado Springs-based AGRM, founded in 1913, is North America’s oldest and largest network of independent Christian crisis shelters and rehabilitation centers - offering radical hospitality in Jesus’ name. AGRM exists to proclaim the passion of Jesus toward the hungry, homeless, abused and addicted, and to accelerate quality and effectiveness in its some 275 member Missions. For more information, visit www.agrm.org or call (719) 266-8300.
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