In a city filled with cranes, it’s no question the landscape of Nashville is changing. With each new high-rise building that goes up, there are more opportunities to see a new view of Nashville. Such was the case for Gentry Fisk.
“I was working on the Westin Hotel building in Downtown Nashville, when I saw Nashville Rescue Mission for the first time,” said Gentry. “I was on one of the top floors when I looked out the window and really noticed the Mission. I can’t exactly explain it, but when I saw it, I felt like I was supposed to volunteer there.”
Gentry was surprised by many things he saw at the Mission while volunteering. “Before this, I had not volunteered at a shelter or soup kitchen. I suppose I had some preconceived notions about what to expect. I expected it to be chaotic. It was far from that. I was impressed by how smoothly things ran. Even the size of the building and the amount of people being served was surprising. The Mission is a huge place and they serve a lot of people.”
And according to Gentry, the surprises just kept coming as he learned more things about the Mission. “I think one of the things that really caught me off guard was to see some of the men I had been working with on the construction site come through the line for lunch or dinner. I learned that some of them were even staying the night at the Mission. I realized there were a lot more people experiencing homelessness than I had expected.”
Gentry soon became a regular volunteer coming on Thursday nights where he connected with many of the people he served alongside. “I was shocked when one of the men serving with me told me he and the other men working in the kitchen were in a program at the Mission. Most of these men were battling addiction and had pretty much given up hope until they came to the Mission. They were happy, laughing, cutting up, and giving back. I initially thought the Mission only provided food and a bed. I came to realize they provided that and a lot more.”
“The best part about volunteering is it has helped me to appreciate the everyday things I have,” said Gentry. “Now when I see someone who is homeless, I realize they are more than their circumstance. This is a real person, who has a name, and in some cases a familiar face I’ve seen while volunteering. This experience has changed me.”
In telling others about his volunteer experience at the Mission, Gentry expected people might question his desire to spend his time serving the poor, hungry, and homeless. But instead, he’s been met with comments such as, ‘I should probably do something like that.’
“It’s like my momma always said…’if you really want to be happy, do something for someone else.’”
Gentry, we couldn’t agree more.
If you’d like to see a new view of the Mission, visit nashvillerescuemission.org/get-involved