Mobile ‘holy ground’ — OSF Care-a-Van blessed, will serve Vermilion County

Father Deusdedit Byomuhangi, manager of pastoral care at OSF HealthCare Sacred Heart Medical Center in Danville, blesses the new OSF Care-a-Van that will serve Vermilion County. Also pictured during the March 29 ceremonies is Jennifer Compton, vice president of ancillary and support services at the medical center. (The Catholic Post/Tom Dermody)

DANVILLE — A new OSF Care-a-Van, the third such mobile health center to serve in the Diocese of Peoria, was blessed as “holy ground” during ceremonies March 29 at OSF HealthCare Sacred Heart Medical Center here.

The 40-foot van will provide residents throughout Vermilion County who may not easily access health care with services including screenings, dental clinics, immunizations, and health education.

The OSF Care-a-Van “is about much more than providing mobile medical care . . . it’s actually enabling God to care for His people thorugh our hands and our hearts and our lives,” said Sister Judith Ann Duvall, OSF, chair of the OSF HealthCare boards. (The Catholic Post/Tom Dermody)

The van was made possible by a generous gift from the Julius W. Hegeler II Foundation. Similar OSF Care-a-Vans are serving in the Peoria and Streator regions.

“This Care-a-Van is about much more than providing mobile medical care to a community of people,” said Sister Judith Ann Duvall, OSF, chairperson of the boards for OSF HealthCare. “It’s actually enabling God to care for His people through our hands and our hearts and our lives.

“That makes this sacred work,” she continued, “and this van becomes holy ground.”

Sister Judith Ann noted that when the pioneer Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis came to Peoria more than 140 years ago they “began by going out to people where they live and caring for them in their homes.” The Care-a-Van, she said, “reclaims our roots” by taking health care to where people live and work. “We are always enriched by what they bring into our lives.”

 GRATITUDE EXPRESSED FOR GENEROSITY

Sister Judith Ann and other speakers offered gratitude to the Julius W. Hegeler II Foundation. Mr. Hegeler was a local businessman and philanthropist who died in 2019. The cancer center at OSF Sacred Heart is named in honor of his wife, Bobette. Earlier this month, a gift from the Hegeler estate also helped lead to the installation of a new medical linear accelerator at the cancer center.

Phil Muehl, who chairs the Julius W. Hegeler II Foundation, said the OSF Care-a-Van program was one “we quickly realized we wanted to get behind and support.”

“We look forward to seeing the van out in the community,” he said.

Ned Hill, president of OSF HealthCare Sacred Heart Medical Center in Danville, called the OSF Care-a-Van “a wonderful asset for our community” and “a symbol of OSF’s dedication to innovation in health care” in the region. (The Catholic Post/Tom Dermody)

Ned Hill, president of OSF Sacred Heart, called the new Care-a-Van “a wonderful asset for our community” and “a symbol of OSF’s dedication to innovation in health care” in the region.

The blessing was conducted by Father Deusdedit Byomuhangi, manager of pastoral care at OSF Sacred Heart, who prayed that the vehicle be “an instrument of healing and comfort” and that those who staff it “reflect God’s healing presence.”

Also taking part in the blessing and ribbon cutting ceremony were Tim Dudley, president and chief executive officer of Vermilion Advantage, and Jennifer Compton, vice president of ancillary and support services at OSF Sacred Heart. Serving as emcee was Curt Squires, public relations and communications coordinator.

EDITOR’S NOTE: More photos from the blessing and ribbon-cutting ceremony have been posted to The Catholic Post’s site on Facebook.

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