ROCK ISLAND — “Heart” checkups will continue at a former doctor’s office in Rock Island.
However, no stethoscopes, blood-pressure cuffs or x-rays will be needed for the kind of checkups volunteers will do at the new Heart of Hope Ministries Center, 1740 9th Ave.
“Everyone will be trained that whomever walks through our door will know that they are loved, and that they are in our hearts,” founder and president Lynda Sargent said.
An open house for the new center will be from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, and Sunday, Dec. 8, with refreshments.
Dr. Myron Fields, of Rock Island, donated the building to Heart of Hope Ministries.
“He handed me the keys Aug. 30,” Ms. Sargent said. She and her staff of volunteers spent about 2 1/2 months renovating the building, including new carpet and furniture donated by UnityPoint Health-Trinity.
“You did it Lynda,” Dr. Fields said, touring the renovated center. “This was what it was all about. What a wonderful change.”
Other businessmen, including an accountant and attorney, expressed interest in buying the building, “but they would have been in private practice,” Dr. Fields said. “Since 1955, this building has served the community, and it has a legacy of taking care of the community.
“I found the right person who’s doing the right things to give this to,” he said.
“What was in Dr. Fields’ heart was in my heart,” Ms. Sargent said.
The building was built in 1955 by the late Dr. Clement O’Neill. Dr. Fields joined the practice when he returned from Vietnam in 1968.
“I came for one year and stayed for 50,” said Dr. Fields, who retired nine years ago.
He tried to persuade the visiting nurses or another doctor to move into the building to provide community health care, but there were no takers.
“When I came here, all the doctors were leaving the downtown area and going up to where the hospital is,” he said. “I decided to stay and take care of the downtown community.”
Serving the community also is Heart of Hope’s main vision and mission, Ms. Sargent said.
The center will open for business Monday, Dec. 9. Hours of operation will be 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday, with evening events slated for Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.
After incorporating Heart of Hope Ministries as an official nonprofit organization in 2009 and forming a seven-member advisory board, “we met in my home for two years, and then had a small office downtown for a year and a half,” Ms. Sargent said. “Now we have the facilities in which to expand what we do.”
Heart of Hope Ministries has led Bible studies for women incarcerated at the Rock Island County Jail, served meals at the Christian Care Men’s Rescue Mission and fed kids at the Christian Friendliness YouthHope Center, all in Rock Island.
In August, it adopted Denkmann Park and raised $5,000 for needed improvements during its fourth annual community picnic.
Heart of Hope was selected in October as this year’s Hero Award Organization Of the Year by the Community Caring Conference.
Grants from the Rausch Foundation and Doris and Victor Day Foundation will allow Heart of Hope to add some new ministries, to be announced early next year, Ms. Sargent said.
Hoover Chiropractic Clinic in Davenport also contributed canned goods for a future food pantry at the new center, she said.
“We’re also asking people for ‘Seeds of Hope’ money,” Ms. Sargent said. Donations made payable to Heart of Hope Ministries may be mailed to 1740 9th Ave., Rock Island, IL 61201, or by PayPal at its website, heartofhopeqc.org.
“We don’t have much money left after all the renovations, but believe God will continue to provide,” Ms. Sargent said.
After sitting vacant for several years, the building needed new water pipes and other work, which Heart of Hope used most of its savings to complete.
A new reception area was created using hospital-donated furniture, and a talking Elmo doll was introduced by Ms. Sargent as the center’s new receptionist.
A kitchen cupboard has coffee supplies as well as bandages, hydrogen peroxide, rubbing alcohol and a small hazardous chemical sign in a corner pane, reminders of the building’s medical history.
Ms. Sargent said some members have joked that she may use the x-ray readers still on the walls of several former treatment rooms “to examine their own hearts,” as they continue to “bind up and heal the brokenhearted,” according to Isaiah 61:1.
“We are a ministry of hope and healing to the hurting,” Ms. Sargent said. “It’s in our hearts.”
Heart of Hope Ministries
1740 9th Ave., Rock Island
–Open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday, beginning Monday, Dec. 9.
–Needs assessments conducted 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
–Family entertainment night, 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesdays.
–Bible study and discipleship, 6 to 8 p.m.Thursdays.
–Prayer night, 6:30 to 8 p.m. Fridays.
–Inner healing and freedom through prayer, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays by appointment.
–Additional new programs will be announced in January.