- Associated Press - Sunday, June 11, 2017

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - The retiring director of Catholic Community Services homeless services in Salt Lake City says the kind of people that need help has shifted from a population of mostly middle-aged men with alcohol problems to a group that is younger with more women, many addicted to drugs.

Dennis Kelsch’s job became more demanding in the past 16 years as the people served became challenging, the Deseret News reported (https://bit.ly/2rZWclT).

But Kelsch - who has also worked as a priest, educator, camp director and homeless shelter worker - said the experience was gratifying and humbling.

“It could be any of us,” said Kelsch, who is 73.

Staff that work with Kelsch said that he start every meeting by reminding them that their clients were people in need that staff needed to care for.

Kelsch personally took time to give acknowledge the clients and offer them encouragement, sometimes reminding them to comb their hair or brush their teeth, said Catholic Community Services spokeswoman Danielle Stamos.

“He’s so genuine. He really cares for the clients,” she said.

Kelsch learned to how to teach and serve others from his parents and his brothers from the Oblate of St. Francis de Sales religious order, he said. He grew up in a Catholic family and later became a priest and taught many students over the years.

Wayne Brown, who works at Catholic Community Services dining hall, said that Kelsch’s positive attitude rubbed off on him.

“He does a job a lot of people couldn’t do. I’ve learned a lot watching him about what it means to be humble with people and what it means to help,” he said.

Kelsch plans to spend his retirement with his wife Kathy and his family and pursue other interests like riding bikes. His goal is one day restore a vintage automobile.


Information from: Deseret News, https://www.deseretnews.com

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