The Mission in the News

Jun 6, 2013

Mission Honors Three with Compassionate Generosity Awards

A corporation, a church and a community partner were honored April 25, 2013 with the Rockford Rescue Mission’s second annual Compassionate Generosity Awards.

Recipients were Subway JPW, Inc.; Lincoln Wood Baptist Church; and Saint Anthony College of Nursing. They were commended “for shining the light of Jesus on the poor and homeless in our community through contributions of time and talent as volunteers and as donors,” said Chris Eldridge, The Mission’s Director of Development.

Since 2003, Rockford Rescue Mission has honored with the EPIPHANY Award a donor or family who reflected the light of Christ upon the homeless and restored hope by modeling compassionate generosity by giving of their time, talent and treasure.

“Last year, as the Mission approached the 10th anniversary of the EPIPHANY award, we decided to expand this special recognition to honor more who have been faithful, devoted partners of Rockford Rescue Mission,” Eldridge said.  “This year, we are keeping this tradition in order to honor several of our partners who have gone far and above the call of rescue.”

The recipients all have supported the Mission for many years, Eldridge said. Some have given significant financial contributions and provided thousands of additional dollars of in-kind donations, such as food, clothing, medicine and professional services. Others have volunteered hundreds of hours by serving on the front lines with residents and guests, in the Mission’s clinics, at annual events and more.

“Each honoree has been active in helping Rockford Rescue Mission restore hope to the homeless, hungry and hurting in our community,” Eldridge said. “They have consistently prayed for the guests, residents and staff of the Mission, providing a visible witness of God's love.”

About the 2013 Compassionate Generosity Award honorees:

Jeff Wilhelm (center) accepts the honor.

Corporate Partner: Subway JPW, INC., represented by Jeff and Phoebe Wilhelm

For well over two and a half decades, Jeff and Phoebe Wilhelm have supported the Mission and its goal of reaching the lost and hurting. They have done this through their own personal support, but also by aligning their corporate goals and visions with that of the Mission. The financial support that Subway JPW, INC. has provided, through the Wilhelms’ direction, is only a small part of what they have invested with the Mission over the years, Eldridge said. They have also passed on a legacy of compassion to the owners of their stores; many continue to support through their annual giving and display of countertop banks. 

Church Partner: Lincoln Wood Baptist Church, represented by Pastor Herman and Ann Brown

Lincoln Wood Baptist Church is one of Rockford Rescue Mission’s longest-running supporting churches.  It is a small giant among churches in view of their generosity and their vision for helping the community, Eldridge said. Its legacy began many years ago through its relationship with Mission pioneers and co-founders G.O. and Nadine Pitney, who called Lincoln Wood Baptist home. The support that the Pitneys showed to their church was mirrored in the support their church offered them. Not only has Lincoln Wood produced many staff members, board members and even elders to lead and direct the Mission, it also was vital in launching the Christian Care Center, which is now our Women’s and Children’s Life Recovery Program. 

Community Partner: Saint Anthony College of Nursing, represented by Dr. Terese Burch, President  & Dean of Saint Anthony College of Nursing; and Helena Stanaitis, Professor (pictured are Kelli Peters and Dr. Terese Burch)

The students of the Saint Anthony College of Nursing have become a mainstay in the Rockford Rescue Mission’s Hope Clinic. Over the past decade, they have provided countless hours doing what is vitally important for the Mission’s guests and residents: keeping them healthy. “The professional health care services that the nursing students provide in the clinic are exemplary,” Eldridge said. “We could not offer the care, as a Mission, that we do today if it wasn’t for the intentional and strategic partnership with Saint Anthony College of Nursing.”

Not only do students enjoy working at the Mission during their structured educational time, but many also volunteer additional time in the clinic. “We thank the school and its leaders for the seeds of community outreach that it is planting in the next generation,” Eldridge said. “We are already seeing the fruit of their labor.”

For more information about partnership opportunities with the Rockford Rescue Mission, contact Eldridge at 815-965-5332, or