Welcome Dennis Dee

Dennis Dee Returns to McKenna Center

Board of Directors Name Him as Executive Director

The Father McKenna Center board of directors is pleased to announce the hiring of Dennis Dee as the organization’s new executive director. Dennis comes to the McKenna Center from the Haymarket Center, the largest and most comprehensive provider of treatment for substance use and mental health disorders in Chicago, where he served as a certified addiction counselor for the past seven years. Dennis has also worked as an attorney and investment banker and is a graduate of Georgetown University and Georgetown University Law Center.

“The McKenna Center family is welcoming Dennis home,” said board chair Barbara Patocka. In August of 2014, Dennis walked through the doors of the McKenna Center for the first time at the lowest point of his life. Due to alcoholism, he had lost everything – his job, home, family, friends, and colleagues. Dennis describes the McKenna Center as a “sacred place” and credits the “kindness and support” of the McKenna Center staff and volunteers for nurturing his healing process which began with reconnecting with his children and sisters and rediscovering God.

Dennis has experience as both a recipient of the McKenna Center’s services and as an employee. “On my first day at the McKenna Center I took to heart director of services Cortez McDaniel’s advice that recovery would be the fight of my life,” said Dennis. Then executive director Kimberly Cox saw Dennis’ steadfast commitment to sobriety as an inspiration to McKenna Center staff, volunteers, and guests and hired him. Over nearly two years, Dennis assisted food pantry shoppers, picked up food donations and orders, greeted guests at the reception desk, staffed the Hypothermia Transition Program, and became an assistant case manager.

Reflecting on his return to the McKenna Center, Dennis said that “The Father McKenna Center staff, volunteers, and donors are extraordinary. The Center’s environment allows a man whose spirit is all but extinguished to be rekindled. I am humbled and honored to steward the McKenna Center through this time of increasing demand for our services.” During the past year, the number of men experiencing homelessness and families facing food insecurity using the McKenna Center’s services has doubled.

The board of directors wishes to thank interim executive director Tori Fernandez Whitney for keeping the McKenna Center’s programs running smoothly during a time of increasing demand and for her tireless commitment to the men and families served by the McKenna Center.

Barbara Patocka,
Board of Directors