Al Riley, director of Blanchet House of Hospitality for almost 40 years, directed the organization with a simplicity that puzzled other social service agencies.

Government grants and fancy fund-raising were taboo under Riley. He died of cancer in Maryville Nursing Home in 1999.

Riley began his work at the Blanchet House in 1960 when he responded to a classified ad in the Sentinel. The ad read 'Apostolic work. Director needed for Blanchet House seven days a week, 17 hours a day. No pay.' Agreeing to try out the job for a year, the former appliance salesman became a fixture at Blanchet House, as well as a friend to thousands of needy people.

'He had a way of calming the waters in people,' says one of the Blanchet founders, Jim O'Hanlon. 'It was his love for people that enabled him to do his job so well.'

Riley received a papal medal in 1992 for his work.