Meet Our Team

Rex Baker

Executive Director

Rex was born and raised in the hill country of Pontotoc County in Northeast Mississippi. He’s married, with two daughters, two dogs, and two cats. Rex is an avid Ole Miss Rebel fan and alumnus. (but he understands that around God’s throne will be “fans of every school.”) After a career in television news, God called Rex to Gateway Rescue Mission in 1998. He became Executive Director in 2003. He’s also a graduate of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, a history buff, loves to read, and plays keyboards in his church band. He currently serves as the president of the Southern District of the Association of Gospel Rescue Missions.

Ben Edwards

Chief Operating Officer

Ben hails from Dyersburg, Tennessee, where he had a full career in the corporate business world with a Pepsi-bottling company. Life led Ben’s kids to the Jackson area, and Ben soon followed, along with his wife, to be near his two children and five grandchildren. (grandchildren affectionately known as “the wrecking crew.”) Ben and his wife began seeking God’s will in using his business background for kingdom work. Just so happens, Gateway leaders were praying for God to send someone with a business background to handle the “bidness” end of things….and so Ben joined the Gateway team in the fall of 2014.

Patricia Melvin

Director of Administration

Patricia was born and raised up the road in good old Noxapater, Mississippi. She joined the Gateway team in the fall of 2003 and keeps the office running. Patricia is the person who, in her words, knows “what’s really going on at Gateway Rescue Mission.” She earned her business degree at Jackson State and is married to Pastor Michael Melvin. Patricia is the master of phrases such as “thank you from the highest of thankivitiy” and her classic “there’s never a dull day at Gateway Rescue Mission!!” Patricia is the person behind the scenes who makes the rest of us look good because when we don’t have a clue, she “really knows what’s going on at Gateway Rescue Mission.”

Forea Ford

Director of Programs

Forea came to Gateway in 2012 with a strong pedigree in the field of addiction counseling. Forea (pronounced Foree) brings Christian character, wisdom, and a dry sense of humor to the Gateway team. He’s married, is a father and a proud grandfather. Originally from Natchez, Forea has a 25 year career in working with addicts, which comes in mighty handy at Gateway Rescue Mission. Known affectionally around Gateway as “Elder Ford”, Forea is what we call in the business a “prayer warrior”, full of grace, wisdom, and a dry remark that’ll make you giggle and keep from going crazy on those days when every Tom, Dick and Harry with a problem walks through the door.

Michael Sweet

Director of Ministries

Michael, commonly known by our clientele as “Pastor Sweet” joined the Gateway team in 2004. He’s married with three sons. Michael is basically our Gateway pastor and performs the unseen work that gets very little glory in this life. Michael can preach a sermon, fuss at the guys, then pray with them in the parking lot or in his office, take guys to the doctor or court hearings, just love on them. And if you’ve ever heard Michael Sweet preach once, you know he played running back at Ole Miss in the 1970’s and as he loves to shout to the guys in chapel, “back then I scored touchdowns for the Rebels. Now, I’m scoring touchdowns for God !!” Michael has just about the most humble and gentle spirit you can imagine, yet he’s stubborn as a mule in fighting for “my guys” as he calls the fellas in our program.

Rusty Ryan

Director of Social Media/Volunteer Services

Rusty came to Gateway Rescue Mission in 2008 to work with volunteers. He’s married with three young-uns, and has a background in computer technology. Rusty is a ball of energy who loves an in-depth theological discussion over a bowl of soup at his favorite Vietnamese restaurant. Because of his computer background, Rusty not only works with volunteers, but also has the “opportunity” to assist Gateway in troubleshooting computer problems, internet hookups, installing new phone systems, and fixing the thrift store computer when a program guy messed up the config.sys file. Rusty brings passion to Gateway Rescue Mission, and whatever he does, he does it at 100 miles per hour.

Huey Howerton

Operations Manager

Huey is a walking miracle. He came to Gateway about 10 years ago as a “program man” with a severe alcohol problem. Huey worked his way up through the ranks to head up our kitchen, and is basically our go to guy to “get her done”, as he likes to say. On any given day, Huey gets up about zero-dark-thirty to get breakfast going, may take an errant program guy “out behind the shed” for a talk, may head out for a food pickup at 4:00 a.m., then take the truck to the shop for repair work later on in the morning….and that’s all before lunch, and then some. God has blessed Huey with a wonderful wife, a restored relationship with his son, and a little patch of heaven out from Carollton where the deer come eat in his yard. He calls them “the kids”. Huey has an old school work ethic, can be tough when needed, and gentle with a broken soul who just needs something to eat.