When Charles “Curt” Thomas stepped down as the executive director of the Haven of Rest a decade ago, the tributes from clients and staff members were legion. Most made reference to the idea of dignity, Mr. Thomas showing respect for all who crossed his path.
So many were down on their luck, suffering from addictions, without jobs, the products of broken and violent homes. They came to the Haven of Rest for shelter, a warm place and a warm meal, even a chance to start in a new direction. For 46 years, Mr. Thomas was there, 27 as the executive director, leading the rescue mission on East Market Street, guiding and building on what his father started in the early 1940s.
Mr. Thomas died on Sunday at age 77 from complications following a stroke in September. He leaves behind his wife, Eileen, his partner in leading the mission. She shared that she “fell in love with the ministry first, and him second.” It is easy to see why. Many of us talk about our Christian values. Mr. Thomas made them his entire life.
A community celebrates many things. What is hard to overstate is how the Thomases enhanced the quality of our lives by devoting time to those who are lost, who are poor, vulnerable and disadvantaged. And the effort continues, their son and daughter part of the mission work.
A testament of Curt Thomas’ commitment is how the operation grew stronger, adding education components and the Harvest Home for homeless women and children. On cold nights like the past few, the welcome is particularly warm, a reflection of how faithfully Mr. Thomas lived.