Andrew J. Bales

Chief Executive, Union Rescue Mission

The Rev. Andrew J. Bales is chief executive of Union Rescue Mission in downtown’s Skid Row. Since URM was established in 1891, it has continuously served the most desperate members of the Los Angeles community. Bales joined the staff in 2005, and immediately began assisting in the development of transitional housing for mothers and children and worked to develop the mission’s Hope Gardens Family Center. He has played a pivotal role in halting area hospital and governmental policies that have dumped patients onto Skid Row. Bales previously served as associate pastor of community outreach at Lake Avenue Church in Pasadena.

Enjoy most: Changing lives.

Toughest challenge: Battling kidney and heart failure and facing leadership challenges.

Proudest moment: Women and children at Hope Gardens honoring me on Father’s Day.

Alma Maters: BA, Bethel College; MA, Drake University

Fun fact: I was a regular part of “Gong Show” and a friend of Chuck Barris in the ’70s. He called me “Crazy Andy.”

Bucket list: Work in a refugee camp.

Hobby/passion: Biking long distance.