Billy Fox and wife terminated from leadership roles of Rescue Mission

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The Panama City Rescue Mission is making some big changes.

Rev. Billy Fox is no longer the executive director. His wife Carol, is also no longer with the organization.

The board President, Rev. Henry Hazard says the mission is going to focus on addiction recovery and with that they need a change in leadership. Hazard says Fox did a good job there and the change has nothing to do with his performance.

The women and children are also going to be moved to a different facility in just a few weeks.

http://www.wmbb.com/story/23485844/rescue-mission-leaders-let-go-organization-changing-focus

From WMBB news department updated:

Reverend Billy Fox, is no longer the Executive Director for the Panama City Rescue Mission, the first of many changes that the mission is making.

His wife Carol Fox has also left the mission. Fox made no comment about the release.

President of the Rescue Missions Executive Board, Henry Hazard, says this decision was mutual.

“Billy Fox was an excellent Executive Director and will certainly have effective ministries where ever he goes,” said Hazard. “The board of directors has decided that it is time to move on and that is a direction which we are taking. We find that because of the foundation that Billy Fox gave us, we are able to do some changing.”

Nationwide, the number of women and children that are seeking help from the mission is rising.  Locally, they are taking steps to make sure they have enough space to house them.

They will open a new Bethel Village for women and children only, on 11th street in Panama City. The projected opening date is October 4th.

They will spend the next couple of days moving in and fixing up the old Restoration House.

The shelter for men will still be located downtown.

Along with feeding and providing emergency shelter to the homeless, the mission has looked into what they can do to help the community on a greater level.

They are shifting their focus to provide more substantial help to those with substance addictions.. Like on drugs and alcohol.

“Some of them maybe have made poor choices, but most of them are having problems with whether it is alcohol or prescriptions drugs or illegal drugs, they are having these addiction problems,” said Hazard. “Just trying to talk to them and do nice things and feed them then put them back on the street has solved nothing they are just going to continue on.”

Rev. Hazard says they have already started the process of filling the empty Executive Director position. He thinks that the board will have that decision ready to go in about a month.

http://www.wmbb.com/story/23490406/rev-billy-fox-no-longer-director-of-rescue-mission

From WJHG news department:

Billy Fox is out as the Executive Director of the Panama City Rescue Mission.

The move came during Thursday night’s Mission Board of Director’smeeting, but apparently the board’s been debating it for at least 2 years.

Board Members say this is the first step in a series of sweeping changes.

Panama City Rescue Mission Board Members won’t get into specifics about why they’re parting ways with executive director billy fox.

But after 8 years on the job, Fox will be leaving.

Rescue Mission Board President Reverend Henry Hazard says, “There were several reasons, and I would rather not go into that because we have an understanding that he’s not to tell everything about us and we’re not to tell everything about him but it was nothing immoral.” 

Hazard did say the board members had become weary of what he called a lot of negative media attention.

Much of that attention seemed to come from downtown residents and business owners, who claimed vagrants and the homeless were running people away from the downtown area.

Panama City Mayor Greg Brudnicki says, “We had a lot of truancy and a lot of calls – police calls – to the rescue mission over the years because there was a lot of incorrigible people mixed in with the truly homeless people looking for a home.”

City officials toughened the city’s panhandling laws, which helped with some of the problems; and they explored a number of options, including building a new homeless shelter out of the downtown area, but Fox refused to seriously consider relocating.

Brudnicki insists the city did not play a role in Fox’s departure, saying, “Absolutely not, I’m just as surprised as you and everyone else. I had no idea.”

Fox also fought a long legal battle with Springfield to expand the Bethel Village for women.

Despite the very public struggles, Hazard says Fox helped build the foundation for the Mission’s future.

Hazard says, “He’s got himself exhausted doing what he can to develop the rescue mission. There was no fault on his part in my opinion.”

Fox declined to comment.

The Rescue Mission has already removed his biography from it’s website.

Hazard says they hopes to have new Mission Director in a month.

http://www.wjhg.com/home/headlines/Rescue-Mission-Says-Goodbye-to-Billy-Fox-224641981.ht

From the News herald

The Rev. Billy Fox and the Panama City Rescue Mission have parted ways.

Fox and his wife, Carol, directed the Rescue Mission’s operations for eight years before Thursday’s decision.

The Rev. Henry Hazard, pastor of Heritage Bible Church and president of the Rescue Mission’s board of directors, would not say Friday who initiated the separation.

“In an attempt to serve the hurting people in our community better, the Rescue Mission is changing,” Hazard said. “This change includes a change in leadership and its emphasis.”

The new emphasis of the Rescue Mission, which transitioned to Pathways Christian Recovery Ministries earlier this year, includes a stronger focus on addiction recovery.

Fox said he could not comment on the matter due to an agreement.

An executive committee, consisting of the top five ranking board members, will oversee the mission’s operations until Fox’s replacement is named.

The Rev. Billy Fox and the Panama City Rescue Mission have parted ways.

Fox and his wife, Carol, directed the Rescue Mission’s operations for eight years before Thursday’s decision.

The Rev. Henry Hazard, pastor of Heritage Bible Church and president of the Rescue Mission’s board of directors, would not say Friday who initiated the separation.

“In an attempt to serve the hurting people in our community better, the Rescue Mission is changing,” Hazard said. “This change includes a change in leadership and its emphasis.”

The new emphasis of the Rescue Mission, which transitioned to Pathways Christian Recovery Ministries earlier this year, includes a stronger focus on addiction recovery.

Fox said he could not comment on the matter due to an agreement.

An executive committee, consisting of the top five ranking board members, will oversee the mission’s operations until Fox’s replacement is named.

The mission’s shift to focus on addiction recovery is because much of the homelessness is caused by addiction to alcohol, narcotics or prescription drugs. Many of those are war veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

“If they’re married, they come home from war and they’re a different person,” Hazard said. “Sometimes there are anger issues and other things that need to be dealt with; the spouse says, ‘I can’t take this,’ and then the person is out on the streets and resorting to alcohol or other drugs.”

Hazard announced the mission will be consolidating its women ministries Oct. 5 to the former site of the Restoration House on 11th Street. The facility will fulfill what the Rescue Mission attempted to do with Bethel Village in Springfield by housing solely homeless women with children and women with substance abuse issues. Three or four of the facility’s units will be reserved for women with children.

“If they do the same things as the Restoration House but helping women, it shouldn’t be a problem for the city,” Brudnicki said. “If it fixes people, great.”

The downtown facility will be reserved for men only, offering work and rehabilitation programs, Hazard said, but due to fire safety restrictions the capacity of the shelter will be reduced greatly.

“It’s not by our choice; these things have to happen,” Hazard said. “It breaks our hearts because homeless people hurt. Many have mental issues health issues and who is going to take care of them?

“But we can try,” he added. “But with more people becoming indigent and with the economy … it’s not getting better.”

http://www.newsherald.com/news/rescue-mission-looking-for-new-leader-1.206092?page=2al

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3 Comments

  1. David Agosta

     /  September 24, 2013

    Personally, I had nothing against Bro. Fox. He and his wife were Godly folks and treated me nice. However, some of the volunteers and at least one staff member is anti-Catholic. Even before I made the decision to convert, I was pro-Catholic, since 1994. Because of my views, which I never crammed down others throats, other volunteers had a problem with me. Because of those problems, I ended my time of volunteering (though it was short). Bro. Fox offered to fix the problems, but I told him not to. The Mission was going through the peak of public criticism; including Springfield denying the permit for Bethel Village. My counter pointing the anti-Catholic volunteers would’ve brought the critics more fire to light.

    I support the Misson’s right to exist and as a private property owner. But, I won’t send monetary offering or patronize their thift stores; due to the anti-Catholic views of the volunteers.

    Reply
    • David, thank you for your comments. Let me address just a couple of your points and offer a different twist. Lets start with your last comment about the Mission’s right to exist and as a private property owner. You are correct on both points but the distinction of what those two descriptions are not quite so clear. When you describe them as “private property owners”, they are only that in the most legal sense of the word. Stop and ask yourself the most basic of question, “who owns the rescue mission?” Billy Fox did not own it. He had zero financial interest and carried none of the financial burden as you and i would if we were to purchase property. Billy Fox was nothing more than an overpaid employee. Who else has a stake? How about the board of directors? They also have zero financial stake in the rescue mission. Each board member is an elected, volunteer who serves for a period of time and then is rotated out. Here is a little story to give you a better perspective. Lets say the executive director and every board member were to travel in a passenger van together to a weekend retreat.During the trip, the van was involved in a terrible accident killing everyone on board. If these individuals had a vested interested in the PCRM as “private property owners” their heirs would entitled to the assets that remained. But that is not the case. The assets dont belong to any of those individuals they in fact belong to you and me and the community at large.So as you and I are “owners, we have a right to have a say in how the organization is run and specifically take the stance that it should not have a toxic effect on its neighbors.

      Your point on members discriminating against you is a sad commentary in the philosophy of how the mission was being run. You think being a Catholic was problematic, try being a Buddhist, a Jew or a Muslim. You would not be allowed to use the facilities and participate in programs. The folks at the mission like to brag that they dont use “direct taxpayer money”. the key word that is being laid in there is “direct”. The reality is they receive significant amount of tax dollars that are shuffled through other organizations that then disperse funds to the mission. When an organization takes tax dollars and positions themselves as THE solution for a community problem, they need to do it in a way that serves the community as a whole not just the narrow group of people that fit their religious, racial or sexual preference beliefs.

      Reply
  2. David Agosta

     /  September 24, 2013

    Good points, about who owns the property. Never saw it that way

    Reply

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