Crusader celebrates 40 years, honors Spirit of Caring winners

Staff Report

Crusader Community Health celebrated its 40th anniversary year at its annual fund-raiser, “4 Decades of Ahhs — Heart, Brains, Courage,” Oct. 19 at Giovanni’s. The event was attended by 500 people.

Crusader announced the winners of the annual “Spirit of Caring” awards as part of its 40th anniversary event. The awards were initiated in 1992 to honor special individuals and organizations in the community who have demonstrated outstanding efforts in caring for others.

This year, 15 individuals and 10 organizations were nominated for the award by family and friends in recognition of their care and concern for others.

Pastor Troy Hedrick

Crusader Community Health presented the 21st Annual “Spirit of Caring” awards to Pastor Troy Hedrick, Charlotte Hackin and Robert McLaughlin. The organization award went to Barbara Olson Center of Hope. A special “On the Bus” award went to the Rockford Fire Department for performing an invaluable service to the community mobilizing ambulance service and paramedic support to the emergently ill.

Pastor Troy Hedrick

Ordained as Pastor of the Lutheran Church in 1963, Pastor Troy Hedrick began his ministry in Decatur, Ill., where he also began his work with creating opportunity for people with developmental disabilities. With roles in the development of numerous community organizations and community health initiatives throughout the region, Pastor Hedrick retired in 1999 and served Crusader Community Health Board of Directors and was chairman of the board for two years. Hedrick also served as president of the board of directors for Rockford Lutheran School.

Charlotte Hackin

As stated by retired Rockford Park District Executive Director Webbs Norman: “Charlotte (Hackin) brings people of all walks of life together in ways that help them discover their own skills and use them to build a better life and community. The level of her caring for children and adults cannot be overstated.”

Hackin is 93 years young — an artist, teacher, dedicated commissioner to the Rockford Park District and board of directors member to Crusader Community Health Foundation. It has been stated that “Charlotte is a role model for living a life filled with health, caring, happiness and

Charlotte Hackin


Robert McLaughlin

Devoted to his family, his faith and his community, Robert McLaughlin is one of those “retired” people who are busier than ever.

Always ready to ask difficult questions to inspire necessary and positive change, McLaughlin has become an essential component to many organizations locally and internationally, including the Family Counseling Services Board of Directors, Carpenters Place, Hope for Haitians Board of Directors and the Rockford Diocese.

It has been stated that McLaughlin’s life is a daily song of gratitude to God and “what better way to thank God for giving you the gift of another day than to bless each day with a generous act toward someone else?”

Barbara Olson Center of Hope

Robert McLaughlin (Photo courtesy of Jim Orlando Photography)

Barbara Olson Center of Hope is committed to helping the community, as evidenced by their 65 years of service to the community. The center has taken on challenges no one else would have dreamt of taking on, including program development that is needed to help keep family members with disabilities in their homes and community.

Crusader’s founders

Crusader was born from a series of “well baby” clinics created in the mid-1960s primarily for low-income families by Dr. John McHugh and Barbara Roman, two of Crusader’s original founders. They soon realized the monthly clinics weren’t enough for Rockford’s growing population and that adults lacked access to care, too.

Crusader Clinic was formed through their remarkable vision, dedication and courage. They were honored at the Oct. 19 event for using their experience, expertise and leadership to establish Crusader Clinic in the 1970s and for their substantial contribution to improving health care to the community that now reaches more than 45,000 area residents through four Crusader Community Health locations.

To quote Dr. John McHugh: “…when we use the term ‘health,’ we don’t mean merely medical care for the sick. We mean the broad-based services that influence health, be it housing, legal problems, counseling, social services, dental services, etc. In this setting, the family would be exposed to much more in the line of educational services toward health maintenance. …” Crusader holds this premise to be of paramount importance to its past, present and future plans.

Barbara Olson Center of Hope

After 40 years of delivering health care services to those in need, the founders’ guiding principles remain solidly in place.

A special portrait of Dr. McHugh and Roman by artist Gail Faber will be displayed at the Crusader Community Health on West State Street to honor their dedication to establishing Crusader.

Proceeds will benefit improvements made at the Crusader Community Health West State Street, Crusader’s first clinic established in 1972, and other needs as designated by the Crusader Community Health Foundation Board of Directors.

For the past 40 years, Crusader has strived to ensure that all people in the community have access to quality, affordable primary health care. During the past 12 months, the clinic served the health care needs of nearly 45,000 individual patients.

Crusader Community Health is a community-based, not-for-profit, Illinois corporation whose mission is to serve the Rock River Valley area with quality, primary health care for people in need. Services are available on a sliding discount basis.

Crusader Community Health has four locations: Crusader Community Health on West State Street, 1200 W. State St.; Crusader Community Health on Broadway-Uram Building, Broadway and Seventh Street; Crusader Community Health Belvidere, 1050 Logan Ave., Belvidere, Ill.; and Crusader Community Health Loves Park, 6115 N. Second St., Loves Park, Ill.

For more information, contact the Crusader Community Health Foundation office at (815) 490-1620 or visit

From the Oct. 31-Nov. 6, 2012, issue

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