Lohr takes helm at Pregnancy Care
Published 12:56 am Wednesday, April 9, 2003
By By BEN RAYMOND LODE / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- If the new executive director of the Pregnancy Care Center in Niles had his way, he would work himself out of business.
Since March 10, John Lohr, a long-time Niles resident, has been the Center's new director.
He took over for Elaine Metzger, who has served the Pregnancy Care Center for many years, as a member of its board, volunteer and most recently, as interim director.
Serving as the 1990 Chairman of Life Choice Center in South Bend, Ind., and being a Niles Pregnancy Care Center board member between 1992 and 1998, has provided Lohr with some of the skills needed for his new position.
Being involved in community activities and church, as well as raising five children, has added to his experience.
The Niles Pregnancy Care Center's mission is to give women who become pregnant, but don't think they can take care of a newborn baby, advice and options to avoid abortion, Lohr said.
Lohr said one of the Center's biggest challenges in the future is to increase the reach and impact of the Center's new Abstinence Ministry.
The Ministry's task is to go out in schools and the community to inform people, young people in particular, about the consequences of getting pregnant at an early age.
And although the doors are always open at the Pregnancy Center, Lohr said his heart is in stopping the flow of women coming in to seek help because of unwanted or unplanned pregnancies.
Health Department statistics, however, indicate Lohr and his fellow workers will be in business for a while.
According to the latest Health Department figures, there were 370 abortions performed in Berrien County in 2001.
While the rest of the state is seeing a decline in abortions, Berrien County is increasing, Lohr said.
The amount of volunteers helping the Center, however, will hopefully be able to inform more young people about pregnancy and how to avoid it.
Lohr said there are volunteers from many different churches in Niles who all work together for the same purpose of reducing unwanted pregnancies.
Having grown up in Ohio, close to Wheeling, W.Va., Lohr moved to the Michiana area in 1976, where he has lived since.
He has lived in Niles since 1984 and for many years he worked pouring concrete at his father-in-law's business.
Lohr also spent five years in sales and said he learned a lot about business during that time.
He has also been a Sunday School superintendent and a teacher, as well as running a Niles church orchestra for 13 years. Lohr is a member of Coulter's Chapel Church of God in Niles.
He said as long as he has the vision to take the Center forward, he plans to stay.
But if at some point he feels he has lost that vision, he will step back and let someone else take over the director's chair.
In the meantime, he will administer the Pregnancy Care Center, enjoy not having to work in the cold anymore, as well as getting to know the community from a director's chair.