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Helping hand

Profile image for By Lucinda Breeding
By Lucinda Breeding

Smith’s tenure as Serve Denton director winds down

Pat Smith started his job as the executive director of Serve Denton with the understanding that he’d be a short-timer.

“The Serve Denton board asked me to serve as director for two years back in 2014,” said Smith, who is also on the ministry staff at Denton Bible Church. “We’re getting into 2017. It’s time.”

Serve Denton is a nonprofit agency that helps needy families in Denton make their way up what it calls the “self-sufficiency ladder.” The agency connects needy people and families with other local nonprofits for essentials like food, clothing and shelter, but also gets them involved with nonprofit assistance that helps keep vulnerable people out of crises — rehabilitation from substance abuse, mental health services and all manner of training.

One of Serve Denton’s biggest accomplishments so far is the creation of the Wheeler House, a transitional housing and clinic facility that has sheltered more than 40 mothers and their children since it opened in 2015.

“Getting Wheeler House done and opened is something I’m really proud to have been a part of — getting it done and opened, and seeing moms and kids get out of bad situations and get into a whole new life,” Smith said

Smith said the Wheeler House project required careful partnerships with the city of Denton and a long list of organizations.

It took time to work through zoning questions and requirements, but Smith said the community came together to create more shelter in Denton.

“It wasn’t easy, but it was definitely worth it,” Smith said. “Forty-two different agencies and businesses had a hand in making Wheeler House happen. Seeing what can happen when the community wants it is a great thing.”

While serving as Serve Denton’s executive director, Smith has also seen his role at Denton Bible Church grow in depth and breadth. He is the director of outreach and the director of safety and security at the large local church. And Smith said he is already working on other initiatives. He plans to work with efforts to end human trafficking.

“I don’t want to say too much,” he said. “But we’re working on a project that has to do with tiny houses. I’ve got plenty to do.”

Smith said the Serve Denton board hopes to bring a new executive director aboard by March, and he will remain in the director’s post until then.

LUCINDA BREEDING can be reached at 940-566-6877 and via Twitter at @LBreedingDRC.