Springs Rescue Mission President and CEO Larry Yonker will retire from the nonprofit later this year, the organization announced July 22.
His replacement will be Jack Briggs, a longtime member of the Air Force who served on the mission’s board of directors in 2016 and 2017.
Briggs will take over in October, but Yonker plans to remain with the organization through December.
Yonker has been at the faith-based Colorado Springs homeless services organization for nearly a decade and served as its leader for the past 7 years.
“I’m just so incredibly grateful and just feel so blessed to have been a part of what God is doing here,” Yonker said in a statement announcing his retirement. “These have been the best years of my life.”
The 69-year-old Yonker first came to SRM as a contractor and consultant before he was hired on as development director in 2011. Two years later, he was selected to head the organization and led SRM through the greatest period of expansion in its 24-year history, helping it to become an expansive homeless resource campus.
With 450 beds, SRM is now the largest homeless shelter in the region. Its resource center offers case management and other services to help those in need regain their health, get back to work and find permanent housing.
Hundreds come to the mission each day for a meal, a hot shower and a warm bed.
Briggs’ appointment as president and CEO comes after SRM’s board of directors say they performed a “rigorous search process.”
He’ll return to Colorado Springs from the East Coast, where he’s led New York University’s security and emergency preparedness programs since retiring from the Air Force in 2017.
Briggs’ ties to Colorado Springs include briefly living here as a child and returning in 1982 to attend the U.S. Air Force Academy.
He spent the first 20 years of his 31-year career as a pilot before being promoted into leadership. As a major general, his last role in the Air Force was as director of operations for U.S. Northern Command headquarters in Colorado Springs.
“I look forward to working hard and carrying on the incredible work of Larry and the team,” Briggs said in a statement.
”God is present at Springs Rescue Mission, and I’m excited to be a part of that — to make space for Him to work in these people’s lives.”