Judson University Announces the 2017 D. Ray Wilson Volunteer Service Award Nominees | Judson University Christian College
Judson University Announces the 2017 D. Ray Wilson Volunteer Service Award Nominees

Community Prayer Breakfast Nominations(ELGIN, IL - April 28, 2017) Judson University is pleased to announce the nominees for the D. Ray Wilson Volunteer Service Award, which will be presented at Judson University's annual Community Prayer Breakfast on Wednesday, May 10, in the Lindner Fitness Center (1151 N. State St., Elgin).

The D. Ray Wilson Volunteer Service Award is given to the candidate who has contributed to the greater good within the Fox Valley community by voluntarily serving others' physical, emotional, intellectual or spiritual needs. This year's nominees are:

Henoch Fuentes of Elgin, Ill., is pastor of outreach for the Evangelical Covenant Church of Elgin, where he has been a member for more than 20 years. He has volunteered with the City of Elgin Police and Fire Department, the DuPage and Kane County jails; Eagle Sports Ministry; Women of Grace and Dignity; Elgin Sister Cities; and he is founder of the CASA AMEN House in Chile. Pastor Henoch was born in the south of Chile, where he earned a degree in business administration. But he felt called to the ministry. He came to the United States on a scholarship from the Central Conference of the Evangelical Covenant Church. In 1991, he graduated from North Park University with a Master of Divinity degree, and in 1993, he was ordained. Over the past 10 years, he has served as a chaplain and counselor in DuPage and Kane County jails, where he developed curricula for anger management and Bible study. Pastor Fuentes passed on this vision to the Woman of Grace and Dignity community service group he helped to form. He also successfully led nine firemen with the Elgin Fire Department to his homeland of Chile, following a devastating 8.8 earthquake. The team brought old fire trucks and equipment to the region. Since that time, Elgin has adopted the City of Cauquenes, and other Elgin ambassadors have visited the area and made trade agreements. Pastor Fuentes has led many fundraising efforts at his local church to further assist with challenges in Chile. Foremost, he was instrumental in opening a home for medical services. CASA AMEN now offers a comfortable environment to house 32 people. It includes eight dormitories, with dining area and kitchen, living room and laundry. The first year, it served more than 1,000 people. For the last four years, Pastor Fuentes has also served as a Bible teacher and theologian with the Spanish-English Ministry Studies (SEMS) program at Judson University. Additionally, he leads a weekly street ministry in Chicago, with a loud speaker and his trusty accordion in tow. And he has worked tirelessly as a volunteer community chaplain with the Elgin Police Department for 20 years. 

Leon and Carol Miller of Elgin, Ill., have managed the weekly Saturday Night Soup Kettle meal at Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren for more than 30 years. They have also been responsible for gathering volunteers from the community to cook and serve. They have both spent their lives volunteering through their church, political activities and through community involvement. For that span of time, they have made it possible for the homeless, the aged, single-parent families and anyone else in need to have a hot meal on Saturday evening. This includes all holidays that fall on Saturday and no one is turned away. Moreover, at the end of the meal, those in need can take advantage of additional food products, seasonal clothing, reading materials and information about other available services. By organizing volunteers and utilizing donated materials, the entire community is involved in this effort; and it is all done without government funding. The Millers have mentored the managers of the other six Soup Kettle churches in the community, and they were instrumental in setting up the Soup Kettles at all seven Elgin churches almost 30 years ago. Their continuous service since the inception of the Soup Kettle program has been a lifetime achievement.

Tammy Wheatley of Elgin, Ill., is a lifelong volunteer. She is a Sunday School teacher at the Vineyard Church of Elgin, nursery leader, AWANA club instructor and a 1987 Judson alumna. She also sings in her local church choir and has served as a worship team leader. Most recently, Wheatley founded The Matthew 25:40 Ministry to assist people who are homeless in Elgin. Her organization, which includes more than 40 volunteers, partners with other groups to help staff an emergency winter shelter and to provide meals. Her group uses the basement level of First United Methodist Church from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m., when temperatures dip below 15 degrees. This past winter’s roster welcomed a total of 80 guests. The Matthew 25:40 Ministry's greater goal is to be comprehensive and assist people who are homeless with physical, mental and spiritual needs. On the “off season,” group members visit the homeless at local soup kitchens or some place in the community. Wheatley’s goal is to eventually have her own building and to provide services year round. On a personal note, she completed her nursing degree after losing her husband. She also homeschooled and reared three children as a widow. In her position as a registered nurse, she works in a facility for the aged, where she holds their hands as they pass away sometimes without the comfort of loved ones nearby. Wheatley loves the Lord and has committed her life to serving Him in whatever ways she can. She doesn't shy away from the challenges He has placed in front of her. She places her faith in Him; and she just continues to move forward.

Carrie Zaccaria of Elgin, Ill., started Go with the Flow in 2015, after seeing a local news story that examined the plight of women who are homeless. Go with the Flow is dedicated to helping women experiencing homelessness in the Kane County area receive adequate feminine products. Most of the product donations come from generous donors who attend Zaccaria’s “parties to empower women,” where invited guests bring items that support feminine needs and they learn more about the needs of women. Since 2015, Go with the Flow has donated more than 14,000 maxi pads, 8,000 tampons and 1,200 pairs of underwear to women receiving services in shelters throughout west suburban Chicago. Zaccaria has a background in early childhood education and has successfully run an in-home daycare, while raising her two children, helping her husband in his business, and founding this organization which impacts the lives of hundreds of women each day. Zaccaria works with The Community Crisis Center and with Wayside Cross Ministries.

Experience the “Blessed” hope of Christ at Judson University’s annual Community Prayer Breakfast on May 10 at 7:30 a.m., featuring a presentation by speaker, author and magician Jim Munroe. Attendees will also enjoy music from Riley Elmore, the West Dundee native who was a top 20 finalist during season 11 of “The Voice.”

Make your reservations to attend now. Individual ticket prices are $25. Nonprofit/Individual Table Sponsorships are $350, and Business Table Sponsorships are $500. To purchase tickets, visit: http://www.judsonu.edu/prayerbreakfast/.

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