Our First Blog: A Letter from Mr. Carlquist

Missions Inc.History, Mission Weekly

We could think of no better way to introduce our new blog than by sharing a message from one of our long time members of the Missions Inc. Programs Board of Directors.

Mr. Richard Carlquist joined our Board of Directors in 1986, when he was serving as the Chief of Police for the city of Plymouth; he retired from the Board in 2018, and upon his departure, sent the following letter to the Board of Directors and Missions Inc. Executive team.

In his letter, Mr. Carlquist makes reference to both the St. James Hotel and Mission Farms. The St. James Hotel was built by the organization in the early 1900s to provide housing and meals to transient men in Minneapolis. The organization, then known as Union City Mission, expanded in 1927 to its current location on the north shore of Medicine Lake in Plymouth, MN, operating hundreds of acres of farmland, providing a refuge for men experiencing homelessness and chemical addiction at a time when these issues were largely ignored by the community.

We have benefited from Mr. Carlquist’s leadership and dedication, and the perspective he brought to his role on the Board. His council, good humor, and long memory of the organization will be deeply missed.

December 15, 2018

Dear Fellow Board Members & Members of the Missions Inc. Executive Team:

It has been a privilege to be included in the management support team of Mission Inc.  The past 32 years on the Missions Inc. Board have flown by.  So many memories, so many great people!

Before being officially included as a Board member, I recall delivering medical supplies to Mission Farms in Plymouth and to the St. James Hotel in Minneapolis.  That was in 1955, I was only 18! The St. James Hotel was located in the heart of the Minneapolis homeless and public drunkenness community.  Many in this area who were “sick and tired of being sick and tired” sought refuge through Mission Farms.

None of us ever knows what lies ahead in our life.  Little did I think driving down that long, narrow road off of 36th street (in Plymouth) with a package delivery in 1955 that someday I would be the Chief of Police in the city I was in or, for that matter, a member of the Governing Board that oversaw all of the services of the future-named Missions Inc. Programs. As the saying goes, “there, but for the grace of God, go I.” Thus, a different scenario with a different path and abracadabra poof I am a recipient of the caring services of Missions Inc. 

I never lost sight of that potential outcome, and brought that mindset to all of my Missions Inc. Board meetings.

Charles Dickens once wrote that there is a wisdom of the head and a wisdom of the heart.  Thankfully, our new CEO Jim Steinhagen has both of these qualities.  In the end it will be the heart that prevails and is remembered but it is the head that will provide the safety net.

As I mentioned at the Holiday luncheon, a quote from Lily Tomlin: “When I was growing up I always wanted to be someone. Now I realize I should have been more specific.” As it turned out, the Missions Inc. Board would have been a specific goal had I known about it from the outset. 

So, I lucked out again!

Thank you for the framed picture of Missions Inc. residents who were representative of the reason for our being. 

And, thank you all for the work that you do.

I love the work that you do – I love you for who you are.

Dick Carlquist