When Sherry Pitney joined Rockford Rescue Mission 30 years ago, she was one of only six employees who handled all the responsibilities that today require a staff of 90.
“We sorted clothes, wrote donation receipts, answered the phone and door, and worked alongside our shelter guests, stocking food, preparing meals and keeping the building clean and in good order,” Pitney said.
Serving as operations director for nearly a decade, she was appointed executive director in 2001, succeeding her husband and co-founder’s son, Perry Pitney, who left the Mission in 1999 and died in 2005.
Through the years, she has been intricately involved as the ministry responded to growing and changing needs of the Rockford community, including expanded programs for women and children and the opening of Hope Clinic, which provides free medical care to Mission residents, the low-income and the uninsured. Her influence was especially prominent in the expansion of the thrift store operation, the design and planning of Hope Place, the Mission’s current location on West State Street, the construction of the Mission’s Vocational Training Center and Restoration Café, and the formation of Healing Place, a community outreach that offers support to victims of domestic violence and to families of drug and alcohol addicts.
“My desire to be involved in ministry to the hurting was my catalyst to begin serving here, but the personal struggles with my husband’s addiction and witnessing the challenges of those who face hardships on a daily basis increased my passion for seeing lives changed by the power of God,” Pitney said. “Through it all, I’ve been so blessed by the generosity and compassion of the many friends and supporters I’ve been privileged to meet and get to know. It is an honor to serve this community.”
For more about the Mission’s year-round programs and services for homeless and hurting men, women and children, see www.rockfordrescuemission.org.
From the Aug. 15-21, 2012, issue