Quick to Listen: Nielsen strengthened community as a Rosecrance board member

Rev. Loren Nielsen went out of his way to make connections as a Rosecrance board member for the past decade. Kind words welcomed future friends and old friends alike as he arrived early and stayed late at events to greet everyone present. He was often called upon to offer the opening prayer at meetings, preparing hearts for a time of discussion and decisions focused on client needs.

Then, it was a priority to make sure all voices were heard.

The relational touch extended beyond the boardroom to staff and supporters, too. Countless calls, texts, and notes went to the Rosecrance family whenever Nielsen sensed someone needed an encouraging touch. Through these efforts, Nielsen left a legacy of friendship that will outlast his board service, which ended in June.

“I hope people remember that I valued all of the board and my committee,” he said. “I cherish that I can pick up the phone and talk to almost anyone because I know them not only by their professional roles but as people. I believed personal contact was important for us to work well, and before long I had a wonderful group of people I could trust.”

Nielsen’s involvement with Rosecrance began long before service on the board. As a Rockford-area Lutheran pastor for 40 years, he recommended congregants and friends to its care for treatment. Then, while serving on the Janet Wattles Center board, he accepted an invitation to Rosecrance’s board in 2011 when the two organizations merged.

During his tenure, Nielsen became a fixture on the program services committee and served several years as the chair. As a result, he had a prominent advisory role for Rosecrance’s rapid growth to Chicagoland, central Illinois, Wisconsin, and Iowa.

“If there is any one committee that shines with the mission of Rosecrance, this was it because we dealt with all the programming aspects that affected people,” he said. “Rosecrance always was on the cutting edge. We wanted to help meet people where the need was the greatest. Invariably with each program and service area addition, we found skilled people who could help individuals dealing with big issues of life. My accomplishment is that I helped in a small way with that.”

Even as a board member, Nilsen was often impressed by the continuum of care and geographical footprint of Rosecrance.

“I hope that more and more will find Rosecrance as a good place where help can be found, you can be respected, and you can learn to live a productive life,” he said.