“Ricky doesn't regard the caring of people, the nurturing of broken individuals, and mentoring of the unwanted as something that takes place during a set time of day. His very life and the life of his family are in a perpetual state of living in the midst of the very people that he serves and loves.” So wrote a colleague of Ricky Beach, who serves as a volunteer Chaplain at the Adult Detention Center of the Wyandotte County Sheriff’s Office.
Continually maintaining a strong presence, Chaplain Beach has volunteered at the county’s detention center for more than 15 years and has personally ministered to thousands of inmates and staff at a facility located in the poorest county in Kansas and having one of the most violent inmate populations. Chaplain Beach offers drug and alcohol counseling and Bible study classes to the adult population on a weekly basis. He also assists with community reintegration planning and has access to such community services as transitional housing and outpatient rehabilitation services. Relating to individuals on the margins, Chaplain Beach’s brand of tough love combines both acceptance and hope.
In the summer of 2008, an inmate on the verge of despair met with Chaplain Beach, who advised him and counseled him. Upon the inmate’s release six months later, Chaplain Beach met him at the bus station to take him to a men’s residential group home, but not before taking him home for a good meal. Chaplain Beach helped the inmate secure work and got him involved in church and in helping the homeless. Today, that inmate is married and owns a storm-restoration roofing company on track to realize a quarter of a million dollars in sales.