Blackhawk Island: Tribute to Mom

Blackhawk Island: Tribute to Mom

Blackhawk Island: Tribute to Mom.

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” (Hebrews 10:24)

My mom’s name Lucy means light, and she was all of that, even after an upbringing that included abandonment and physical abuse.

During her homemaking years, helping my dad raise 3 boys, her light shone outward in all directions: a hospital volunteer, a Sunday school teacher, a church deaconess, choir member, active in the Missionary Society. Her heart lit the spark, and her hands fanned the flames.

After we 3 boys were off to college and work life, in her 40’s, quite a storyline developed. For 10 years mom was the librarian and teacher aide for a very poor public grammar school in an extremely underprivileged rural area just outside of town. Her students came from the area’s trailer parks, shanties and tarpaper shacks that were scattered on a little island that regularly flooded over. The principal of her school, after seeing her read Bible stories and pray with these students during “library hour,” asked mom almost daily to visit one or more of these destitute homes to find out why their children were not in school that day. Her heart quickly went out to these highly disadvantaged kids, and soon she was bringing groceries and clothes to these homes. She then decided to strike a deal with the local Salvation Army… If I give you the sizes and styles needed, she told them, would you donate the clothes to me so I can deliver them on my school-duty rounds? The Salvation Army agreed, so she proceeded to measure the kids’ sizes, etc., and end up outfitting most of the kids in that one very poor area.

Significantly, mom would always take the time to talk with the parent, when she found one, and offered simple recipes for meals, little hints on child-raising, and often ended up telling them a Bible story. After a short prayer with them, she would then move on to the next place. She would often bring Thanksgiving meals and Christmas cookies during vacations as well, and she became a much-beloved visitor on that island. It’s no wonder that the school dedicated the yearbook to Lucy Larson.

Lucy’s light was getting pretty intense, and the only person who didn’t know of the magnitude of her ministry was her husband Willy. She never told my dad the extent that she was involved in shanty town, because she was afraid he’d get worried about the obvious dangers and tell her not to go. So, she went by herself, month after month, year after year, the Mother Teresa of Blackhawk Island.

A humorous sidelight to this bit of secrecy on the part of my mom… My dad was ministering in a tough urban part of town during these same years that mom was going to the island. And he never told her, because he was afraid she’d ask him to stop because of the dangers involved there. There they were, caring for marginalized, underserved people at the same time in different parts of the town of Rockford, Illinois, and neither knew the other was doing so! Something tells me they were meant for each other.

“Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with brotherly affection; outdo one another in showing honor; practice hospitality.” (Romans 12:9-10, 13)

One Reply to “Blackhawk Island: Tribute to Mom”

  1. Awesome story. Thats amazing they both kept their similar ministries hidden from each other…too funny and too fitting for the selfless people that they were.