Gatekeepers was created for inmates and ex-offenders entirely by ex-offenders who have experienced what it is like to re-enter society after having been incarcerated. The vision to start Gatekeepers originated on the recreation yard of the Metropolitan Transition Center in Baltimore, MD, in 2010. That is when Bill Gaertner met Keith Roys and they started speaking about re-entry and our lives after release. They shared common backgrounds, education, and spiritual feelings (key components in the Gatekeepers Business of Living program) and quickly realized there was no structured re-entry planning for inmates and little for those released. Bill and Keith decided to work to fix that and, along with dozens of other ex-offenders and community partners, spent months talking and gathering information used in developing Gatekeepers and the Business of Living program.
Since then, Gatekeepers has helped hundreds of men and women prepare their personal re-entry plan using the Business of Living Workbook. This same Workbook was digitized and videos were added so that in 2022 it could be put on tablets that are issued to inmates. Currently, the Gatekeepers Business of Living Workbook is on tablets in over 235 correctional institutions around the nation! With the help of donors and through grant funds from partners like United Way, the State of Maryland, and recently the American Idea Foundation, Gatekeepers will continue to go inside prisons and jails and help current inmates get ready to come home for good!
AFFILIATIONS & AWARDS
Bill serves as a board member of several organizations and initiatives that share a similar mission. Those include: Lasting Change, Horizon Goodwill Industries, the Street Reentry Board, the Justice Reinvestment Advisory Board, and the National Catholic Prison Ministry Steering Committee.
Because of his passion to help ex-offenders get their lives back on track, Bill received the Hagerstown Sunrise Rotary Club’s annual Vocational Service Award in 2018. Watch his interview on WDVM for more details.
He was also recently awarded Horizon Goodwill’s Massey H. Roe Memorial Award winner for 2018. This award was established to honor an individual or organization that has made a significant contribution to building bridges between groups in order to foster cooperation or collaboration and thereby improve the quality of life for the citizens of their community.
In 2021 Bill was awarded the St. Dismas Award. The presentation occurred on September 30th at 12:15 pm. A Mass was held at the Baltimore Basilica on 409 Cathedral St.
We assess the needs of each person who walks through our door and work to understand the unique obstacles, hardships and challenges they face.