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Waynesboro Area Refuge Ministry announces interim executive director

Leslie Lusk
Leslie Lusk. Photo courtesy Waynesboro Area Refuge Ministry.

The Waynesboro Area Refuge Ministry board of directors has selected Leslie Lusk to serve in the role of interim executive director as the board continues its search for a successor to past executive director, Debra Freeman-Belle.

Lusk, who most recently served as advancement and operations manager, began her time with WARM in 2018.

“Leslie has great knowledge and the right skill set to lead WARM during this time of transition,” Board Chair Brian Edwards said. “We are confident that she will continue the service that WARM has provided to our unhoused neighbors in Waynesboro & east Augusta County for the past 10 years. Having someone who is knowledgeable and well respected by the board, WARM staff, community members and of course, those whom we serve, is one of the reasons we chose Leslie. She has our full support!”

In the role of interim executive director, Lusk will oversee the two shelters housing approximately 75 adults at sites in Waynesboro and Verona. The shelters are in addition to the Ruth Van Cleve Anderson WARM House for Women & Children, which offers temporary housing for up to seven families.

“The pandemic and availability of housing in the area to low income individuals resulted in the rapid need for shelter for the homeless in our community. WARM has responded in kind by adding more beds through the generosity of Valley Homeless Connection, individual donors, business, and faith community partners,” said Edwards. “We need someone at the helm, so that WARM can continue its ministries, which hopes to ensure that no person dies living in isolation.”

Lusk began her role as interim executive director on March 28. She takes over from Freeman-Belle, who served the organization since 2013, and has become the executive director for the region’s Boys & Girls Club.

On her tenure as ED, Edwards says, “Debra took WARM from an unstable organization that was serving only a handful of homeless to a well trusted community agency providing food, shelter, and support to over 200 homeless individuals each year, presently. She always has the uncanny knack to form partnerships in the community to keep WARM going. But her most precious strength is the love she has for those in the community who have nowhere else to go.  We will dearly miss her leadership.”


augusta free press
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