On Thursday, June 9th, Tony Cooper, the executive director of the Jimmie Hale Mission, received the Russ Reid Lifetime Achievement award during the annual Association of Gospel Rescue Missions (AGRM) conference held in Jacksonville, Florida
The Russ Reid Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes Mission leaders who have served at least 15 years in a rescue mission leadership role, demonstrated leadership skills, have advanced their mission in size, scope and public standing, have shown Christian character, mentored and encouraged younger rescue mission leaders, been involved in leadership roles on an AGRM level, and led missions that have remained in good standing with AGRM.
Tony Cooper has met and exceeded all of the above criteria. With 40 years of experience as a pastor and Mission director, 25 of which were at The Jimmie Hale Mission, Mr. Cooper has grown the Jimmie Hale Mission to become one of the most recognized and respected nonprofit organizations in central Alabama. Since his arrival at the Mission in 1990, the ministries have grown considerably to include Jessie’s Place for women and children, Royal Pines Recovery Center, the relocation of the Shepura Men’s Center, Stewart Learning Centers for education remediation and career readiness, and most recently, the addition of after-school Bible clubs called Discovery Clubs.
“Awards are not the motivation for what we do, however it is an honor to be recognized by an organization of your peers,” stated Mr. Cooper. “God is indeed faithful and is the source of all that is good. Proverbs 3 says to trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all our ways we are to acknowledge Him and He will direct our path. I’m blessed to share this award with my family and co-workers.”
In addition to serving as a great leader at the Mission, Mr. Cooper is also a leader within the Birmingham community. He is a trustee of the Birmingham Business Alliance, a member of the Alabama Rescue Services Association, an active member and former national board member of AGRM, and is also a member of Gardendale First Baptist Church, Alabama Association of Nonprofits, the Downtown Kiwanis Club and Leadership Birmingham.
Mr. Cooper is also a loving husband, father and grandfather. The Mission is incredibly grateful to have such a profound and local leader.