A man who says he has a passion for helping the less fortunate is on a new "mission" in our area. He's the new CEO of the Allentown Rescue Mission. Chris Aylward has only been on the job since Monday. He comes to the Lehigh Valley from Syracuse, N.Y.,and is the new Chief Executive Officer of the Allentown Rescue Mission.
"I've worked at a number of different rescue missions now for over 20 years and really have a passion to serve the poor and the homeless," explained Aylward.
The Christian organization serves local homeless men with an emergency shelter and a live-in transitional program among other things. Aylward says he looks forward to growing the 112-year old Rescue Mission in the coming years.
"None of that's going to change, none of that's going to diminish at all, we're just going to continue, hopefully in the future we can serve people in new ways."
Aylward takes over the local charity after working as the Director of Vocational Services at the Altamont Program in Syracuse. He says he felt called to help the needy.
"Be able to give people a chance to be treated the way that they should be treated no matter who they are," shared Aylward.
He wants to share the respect, dignity and love of Christ with the people the Rescue Mission serves daily. Right now Aylward is living in an apartment while his wife Tina and children prepare to sell their New York home and move to the Lehigh Valley.
"My son Josh is 13 and my daughter Hannah is 12 and they're all very excited about the move coming here to Allentown," he said.
In the last few months the mission ended its drug treatment program and parted ways with longtime leader Gary Millspaugh. Officials say they don't have plans for any big changes right away, but do want to help those with drug and alcohol addictions. We're told it won't be another treatment program but things are in the works.