Tue, April 07

Sunwest Bank donates $10K to Old Town Mission
Money will go to workforce development program

Sunwest Bank employees Andy Phillips and Lori Simmons examine glass beads on display at Garden of Glass on Cherry Street in Cottonwood.

Sunwest Bank employees Andy Phillips and Lori Simmons examine glass beads on display at Garden of Glass on Cherry Street in Cottonwood.

COTTONWOOD - For years, Old Town Mission in Cottonwood has provided emergency services to people in need. Among the many programs and services provided are meals, groceries, clothing, school supplies and clinics. Now, Bryan Detwiler, executive director, and his staff are extending the Mission's outreach to help put people to work.

Tuesday afternoon, Sunwest Bank, representing the Sunwest Bank Foundation, presented Detwiler with a check for $10,000 to help with the new program.

Lori Simmons, senior vice president and regional manager of the Cottonwood Sunwest Bank, attended a short presentation ceremony at the Mission's new workforce facility at 1491 E. Cherry St. Joining Simmons for a tour of the facility was Andy Phillips, market area president of Sunwest Bank for Northern Arizona.

Simmons explained that when Sunwest Bank took over First State Bank the company saw record profits in 2009. She said it has been a tradition of Sunwest Bank to give back some of their profits to charities.

She said the donation comes through the Sunwest Bank Charitable Foundation, a private, non-profit authorized by the bank's board of directors in 2009 with a $2 million initial contribution.

Simmons said the foundation contacted her to find out what is her community's greatest need.

"I didn't have to think about it," she said. "It was the Old Town Mission."

Detwiler said the Mission is "trying to eradicate poverty in the Verde Valley."

To that end, the Mission is using what Detwiler calls a two-pronged approach. The first is emergency services, which the Mission has provided and expanded upon for years. He calls that the "immediate needs program."

The Mission's second approach is attacking the root cause of poverty, such as lack of opportunity and social entrepreneurial skills.

Detwiler said the Mission is creating diverse businesses to employ people and help with workforce development through building work skills and life skills.

"This has been my vision of what I've wanted to do for more than 20 years," Detwiler said. "Using market strategies to address social issues."

The Mission started this workforce program in May 2009 when it opened the Thrift Store in the old Ace Hardware store on SR 89A. Now the Mission has opened The Garden of Glass at the Cherry Street location.

The Garden of Glass is operating primarily as a web-based business, although the Cherry Street warehouse and office has a showroom displaying many of the available products.

The business's main products are glass aggregates used in landscape design, interior design, flooring, gas fire pits and fireplaces, as well as many other applications. The glass is made from recycled glass, and it is available in large rock sizes all the way down to sand.

For information call (800) 571-7611 or go online to

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