"I am an American" with Dave Scott


The gulf between the number of individuals who suffer from addiction and the number of services available to them is, to coin a phrase from the old Bible School song, “deep and wide.” The Market Street Mission in Morristown is one of many nonprofits in New Jersey that tries to help fill that gulf. The mission is joined in a battle where the enemy has grown its strength several times over, and where those trying to save the day are outnumbered.

Into that fray has stepped David Scott, who’s led efforts at Market Street for nearly 30 years. Scott, a trained counselor with four decades of experience, knows he can’t save every addict or alcoholic who comes his way, but he is driven by his faith and training to save those he can. The mission offers an array of programs for those addicted to alcohol or drugs, but also ministers to the downcast, the hungry and the homeless. Initiatives include an 8-12 month “life change” program; daily meals that feed hundreds per week, and provisions for clothing, and lodging for people who need it short-term, or for men in for the long haul, attempting to “come clean.”

While he admits that the mission has, over the years “lost people we dearly loved,” Scott is resolved to keep trying. The mission’s job, as he sees it, is to help pick up the pieces when someone falls apart, to meet needs physical, emotional and spiritual.

“They’re not here because they’re angels,” said Scott. “They’re here because their lives have crashed.”

Helping people recover from the crash, gain employment and renew ties to their families, and perhaps even find spiritual awakening is at the heart of Scott’s mission. “I’m not interested in saving the world,” he says. “I’m interested in saving one life at a time.”

Scott is the rare person for whom vocation and avocation have aligned for the common good in a way that can be a salve for troubled, cynical times. He believes in “hope.” He also believes the Bible is critical for finding purpose in life. “If you do what the book says,” Scott offers, “life will get better.”

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