ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- For almost six years, Major Randy Hellstrom has been the face and voice of The Salvation Army of Winnebago County. As the county coordinator he has provided leadership over services and programs that are distinctive to The Salvation Army such as the client-choice food pantry, Women’s Restorative Justice Program (WRJP), Christmas assistance programs, Friday night patrol, Emergency Disaster Services (EDS), Food for the Needy drive, Christmas kettle campaign, and much more.
With a willing heart and a compassion for others he has, what The Salvation Army terms, been “doing the most good.” He holds a dual position with his wife, Major Kathy Hellstrom, as the corps officers (pastors/administrators) for the Rockford Temple Corps (church) at 500 S. Rockford Ave. It is their devotion and dedication to the Rockford community that makes it hard to say “goodbye” as Majors Randy and Kathy Hellstrom transfer at the end of June to Omaha, Nebraska to take up their positions as Divisional Secretary and Women’s Ministries Secretary, respectively. Major Randy Hellstrom will have an additional appointment as Men’s Ministries Secretary, and Major Kathy Hellstrom will have additional appointments as Community Care and Moral and Ethical Issues Secretary. Along with three of their four children the Hellstroms will say farewell from the Rockford Temple Corps on Sunday, June 23rd.
For over 22 years, the Hellstroms have served as commissioned Salvation Army officers and ordained ministers in appointments such as Boone, IA; Des Moines (Temple), IA; Omaha (Citadel), NE; and St. Louis (Gateway), IL since 1991. Upon arriving in Rockford in 2007, Major Hellstrom, a second generation Salvation Army officer, noted that his father Leif, immigrated to Rockford from Sweden in 1959, became a soldier (lay member) and band member of the Rockford Temple Corps, and entered the College for Officer’s Training from here. “To have that heritage and connection has been quite a privilege to serve in Rockford, and my family and I leave with sad hearts,” stated Major Hellstrom.
The Hellstroms have three sons and one daughter. Their oldest son, Nathan (25 yrs), is completing his master’s degree in accounting, and while currently employed at Monitor Technology will start a new job in the fall with Crowe Horwath. Their second son, Joshua (22 yrs), is a Specialist in the U.S. Army stationed at Ft. Bliss, Texas. Their third son, David (20 yrs), is entering West Point Military Academy in the fall and their daughter, Moriah (17 yrs), will begin her senior year of high school in the fall and plans to study music in college thereafter. Major Kathy Hellstrom stated, “Our family has loved our time here in Rockford and we will definitely miss the friends we have made here.” Major Randy Hellstrom is known for his presence in the community and his preaching in the pulpit. Major Kathy Hellstrom is a gifted pianist and preacher. Together they have moved the mission of The Salvation Army of Winnebago County forward and will be greatly missed. Their replacements will be Majors Steve and Christine Merritt from Omaha, Nebraska.
The public is invited to attend the final church service preached by Major Randy Hellstrom at The Salvation Army, Rockford Temple Corps, 500 S. Rockford Avenue, on Sunday, June 23rd at 10:30 a.m. Major Kathy Hellstrom will be the pianist. Following the worship service there will be a cookout at 12:30 p.m. and a card shower and farewell service at 1:30 pm. Please RSVP by calling 815-226-4400.