Darrel Beck, founder of London’s Christian Shelter for the Homeless and the first president of its board of directors, has turned over the reins to Devin Osborne.

Beck was named by the board as president emeritus.

He said Friday his duties at the shelter won’t change much.

“I’ll still do what I’ve done at the shelter. Getting Devin will relieve me a little bit,” he said, adding, “At 73, you have to pass the torch.”

That torch has been burning in Beck’s life for at least a decade. The shelter became his dream before the new millennium and he worked hard to turn it into reality.

With the help of community leaders, he saw in a nearly dilapidated building, built nearly 60 years ago to sell farm implements, his concept of a place to give the homeless a home — a place for them to be fed, to sleep, and to find a better future.

With his prodding, pushing and planning, the building and its second floor apartments became a temporary dormitory for individuals without a home and apartments for families who need a place to stay.

The facility on East Fourth Street in London houses about 50 people and is populated at about 95 percent capacity most of the time, Beck said.

It opened in 2007.

He said with regret that the shelter has to turn away two or three people each day.

Beck’s work at the shelter has been more than administration and it will continue to focus on developing contacts, finding donors and supporting residents.

“It has been a blessing to be part of this ministry. I enjoyed being president and I look forward to supporting Mr. Osborne,” Beck said.

According to the shelter’s by-laws, a board president may serve only two, two-year terms, which is why Beck was promoted to emeritus status and Osborne took over.

Osborne owns an advertising and design agency in London.

He’s been quoted as saying of his new post, “I feel humbled by the sizable tasks which lie ahead. In addition to inheriting the responsibility of carrying the shelter’s mission forward, I certainly have some very big shoes to fill to be following in Mr. Beck’s footsteps.”

He noted that Beck’s decade-long vision developed two years ago into what he called, “one of our community’s most respected anti-poverty programs.”

The shelter’s volunteer staff provides two hot meals daily as well as other services including basic spiritual and educational classes, job placement assistance, basic transportation, help with medical care, case management for current and future planning, clothing and laundry assistance, and donations to exiting residents such as housewares, furniture and other necessities.

The shelter continues to seek new donors and volunteers. For information, call 606-330-0785. The shelter’s e-mail address is christianshelter@windstream.net and its Web site is www.londonshelter.org.

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