Niagara Gospel Mission has added army veteran John Cooper Jr. to its staff as director of development, as the agency plans to strengthen its financial base and increase services in the Niagara Falls region.
“I’m in awe at how God has used the Mission to impact the people of Niagara Falls,” Cooper said.
He explained, “I got my start in ministry at the Mission doing coat drives and preaching before I went into the service. It brings my heart joy to be back here serving these people and my community.”
Cooper attended Niagara Wheatfield High School and Clarks Summit University before joining the Army, where he served six years with one stint in Afghanistan. After leaving the service, he enrolled in seminary preparing to enter the ministry, with an interest in reaching out to area homeless veterans.
“I have always had a heart for those in need, especially the homeless veterans who come to the Mission each day. As a veteran myself, I believe we need to take care of our own,” Cooper said. “I’m looking forward to networking with our local American Legion and the VA.”
Cooper has already co-opted a small dorm in the Mission to provide a refuge for homeless veterans, many of whom suffer with PTSD, depression and other mental disorders.
A longstanding member of the Niagara Falls area, Cooper’s family founded Cooper Sign Co. in 1922. “If you’ve driven down Pine Avenue and seen the old pink elephant that’s a landmark in our city, my grandfather, Wayne, built that years ago. The Cooper family is all about Niagara Falls!” Cooper said.
Niagara Gospel Mission is a private ministry, receiving no government funding.
“My job is to reach out to our donors, churches, businesses and foundation as we meet the increasing needs of impoverished families and homeless men in the area,” Cooper said. “We must stabilize our financial foundation and build a donor base of compassionate people who want to see our community thrive.”
Niagara Gospel Mission is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit providing services to the homeless and poor. Visit niagaragospemission.org to learn more about current services and plans to develop services for homeless women.
Niagara Gospel Mission is located 1317 Portage Road in Niagara Falls.