I am outraged at the Atlantic City Rescue Mission's direction and the way William Southrey's dismissal as executive director has been handled - or, should I say, mishandled?

The mission's board and whoever is actually behind the decision to terminate Southrey and to push him away from his vital work with the mission are mismanaging this situation.

Southrey has been an advocate, a force for appropriate and effective care and treatment. He has demonstrated remarkable compassion, energy and practicality in developing programs at the mission and interacting with its residents. As an example of Christ's love in action, this man has brought tremendous relief and services to thousands of suffering men, women and families who have been involved with this facility.

We cannot deny the presence of the homeless or pretend they are some other area's burden. From the glittering entertainment, pricey restaurants and ubiquitous gambling options of Atlantic City to the most lowly, downtrodden and desperate people who simply have nowhere else to go - they are all here. With charity, common sense and determination - which Southrey has - we can assist our brothers and sisters.

I am especially concerned for the welfare of homeless veterans, a group certainly served by the mission staff and its programs. It is absolutely unacceptable that men and women who served our country, fought and sacrificed both physically and psychologically, are also expected to struggle with no home and no reliable shelter. Let us come together and do the right thing. Southrey was doing his job - caring for the homeless and standing by the mission. He needs to continue.

PHYLLIS H. KANARKOWSKI

Ocean City