The History and Growth of Anchor House Ministries

Our Founder

Anchor House was founded in 1974 by Mark “Pop” Rivera who directed operations of the ministry for 33 years. A reformed gang member and heroin addict who became an Episcopal deacon, Rivera understood the power transformation and redemption. His goal was to provide a safe, stable, and structured environment for boys where both God’s love and accountability was practiced. The land on which our main Auburndale campus resides was donated by Mosaic Company in 1982. Rivera passed away in 2012.

Jay Troxel – Troxel Hall

Troxel Hall on our main campus is named after Jay Troxel who spent his professional years conducting independent appraisals of banks and other commercial enterprises so he could travel the world with his wife and business partner, Eloise. After Eloise’s death in 1997, Troxel started making donations to area non-profits in his wife’s name. Before he passed in 2012, Troxel set up a fund called The Community Foundation of Greater Lakeland so he could continue giving after he was gone. That foundation evolved into the Give Well Foundation which continues to support Anchor House Ministries to this day.

Baranabas & Highlands House

The Barnabas and Highlands Houses are a vision brought to reality by current Executive Director, Dr. Joseph Davis. Once residents reach 18 years of age, they can no longer live at Anchor House. Knowing statistics place 85% of aged-out foster care kids homeless and living on the streets, Davis brought the first transitional houses to Polk County.  Based on availability, the willingness to work, and go to school, Anchor House residents may transition to residences staffed with house parents.

Maurice Sigler – Sigler Hall

Sigler Hall, also on our main campus, is named after Maurice Sigler. Sigler was a former corrections officer who became a warden, was twice appointed by President Nixon, and was Chairman of the U.S Parole Board in Washington DC. Sigler wanted to be a part of changing the lives of young men who had never before had a chance to know what living meant. Having been greatly impacted in his younger years by the 1938 movie “Boys Town” starring Spencer Tracy and Mickey Rooney, Sigler became a major supporter of Anchor House Ministries after he moved to Lakeland, Florida to retire. Sigler passed away in 2009.

The History and Growth of Anchor House Ministries

Anchor House History - Mark %22Pop%22 Rivera

Our Founder

Anchor House was founded in 1974 by Mark “Pop” Rivera who directed operations of the ministry for 33 years. A reformed gang member and heroin addict who became an Episcopal deacon, Rivera understood the power transformation and redemption. His goal was to provide a safe, stable, and structured environment for boys where both God’s love and accountability was practiced. The land on which our main Auburndale campus resides was donated by Mosaic Company in 1982. Rivera passed away in 2012.

Anchor House History - Mark %22Pop%22 Rivera

Jay Troxel – Troxel Hall

Troxel Hall on our main campus is named after Jay Troxel who spent his professional years conducting independent appraisals of banks and other commercial enterprises so he could travel the world with his wife and business partner, Eloise. After Eloise’s death in 1997, Troxel started making donations to area non-profits in his wife’s name. Before he passed in 2012, Troxel set up a fund called The Community Foundation of Greater Lakeland so he could continue giving after he was gone. That foundation evolved into the Give Well Foundation which continues to support Anchor House Ministries to this day.

Baranabas & Highlands House

The Barnabas and Highlands Houses are a vision brought to reality by current Executive Director, Dr. Joseph Davis. Once residents reach 18 years of age, they can no longer live at Anchor House. Knowing statistics place 85% of aged-out foster care kids homeless and living on the streets, Davis brought the first transitional houses to Polk County.  Based on availability, the willingness to work, and go to school, Anchor House residents may transition to residences staffed with house parents.

Maurice Sigler – Sigler Hall

Sigler Hall, also on our main campus, is named after Maurice Sigler. Sigler was a former corrections officer who became a warden, was twice appointed by President Nixon, and was Chairman of the U.S Parole Board in Washington DC. Sigler wanted to be a part of changing the lives of young men who had never before had a chance to know what living meant. Having been greatly impacted in his younger years by the 1938 movie “Boys Town” starring Spencer Tracy and Mickey Rooney, Sigler became a major supporter of Anchor House Ministries after he moved to Lakeland, Florida to retire. Sigler passed away in 2009.