by Emily Armentrout
Recently, the Lighthouse Mission Wabash County Thrift Store announced they replaced former director Claire Coyne, after Coyne announced her retirement in late 2013. The Lighthouse Mission hired Pastor Tom Curry as the new director, and longtime Lighthouse employee, Mary Harris, as the store manager.
Pastor Tom Curry recently returned to the United States after being a field missionary in India for the past five years. He was a pastor in Wabash County for 17 years and he also spent 10 years in Chicago as a pastor. Pastor Curry will be in charge of outreach programs at the Lighthouse like the food baskets and growing the ways the mission can assist those in Wabash County.
“We purposely try to keep our prices very, very low. People who are in need know that this is a place to help them,” Curry told The Paper.
After hearing about Coyne’s retirement, Curry and his wife knew they wanted to get back to this general area in the United States, so they began to pray and reach out the Lighthouse’s board.
“It seemed like a very good fit. The more we talked about it, the more excited we got,” added Curry.
Mary Harris, a five-year employee at the Lighthouse Mission, was tapped to be the store’s new manager. Harris will oversee the day-to-day operations of the store. Harris started at the Lighthouse Mission as a single mother of five, looking for work to make ends meet. Harris, who was friends with Coyne, reached out to her to seek employment and within a month, Coyne had hired her on at the mission and she has been there since.
“There were a lot of years under Claire’s belt. You can’t just jump in after 23 years and know everything she knows. I applied for this position because my fellow employees thought I would be a good fit,” Harris told The Paper. “I don’t know if I ever would have anticipated being in this position because I always thought Claire would be here. I prayed about if the Lord wanted this for me, and it felt like a call. It’s a very personal thing to be in the midst of, and I felt directed this way.”
Harris also applied for the position because she believes in the store beyond just selling merchandise at low prices.
“We have a wonderful staff. The mission is so much more than the store. It is about the people who come here. I believe Claire was successful in keeping the mission going because she was personable. There’s an outreach here. It’s beyond buying clothes and offering low prices. There is a much bigger aspect of what goes on here. I had no idea until I started working here of what really goes on here. I want to see the personal touch this store offers continue. All the employees have such compassion,” said Harris.
Curry was in agreement when it came to the compassion of the employees.
“There is compassion here. The people who work here don’t just come for the job. They have a passion for the work. That’s what makes this place special.”
The Lighthouse Mission is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The store is located at 806 North Cass St., Wabash.