Hedgrens Enter Into Honored Retirement
Commissioners Steve and Judy Hedgren entered honored retirement after distinguished officer careers over five decades in three USA territories. General Andre Cox and Commissioner Silvia Cox conducted the retirement ceremony in a service at the Tampa, Florida, Corps. Lt. Colonel Vern Jewett presided at the meeting, which was themed “Celebrating a Lifetime of Simply Trusting.”
Lt. Colonel Martha Jewett, Lt. Colonel Ron Busroe, Colonel Mark Tillsley and Major Barbara Rich spoke words of tributes from the perspective of friends, and Captain Lori Miller offered a tribute from the family. The Southern, Central and Eastern territories, where the Hedgrens served, were represented by flags borne by Lt. Colonel John Needham (South), Lt. Colonel Norman Marshall (Central) and Lt. Colonel Wayne Maynor (East). The Hedgrens’ Disciples of Jesus sessional flag was carried by Lieutenant Matt Hedgren.
Just prior to the retirement ceremony, Commissioners Hedgren reflected on their 38 years of service as Salvation Army officers.
Married in April 1975, Steve and Judy Hedgren entered officer training in the Central Territory in 1976 and were commissioned in 1978, serving for a year as cadet lieutenants 1978 and appointed to the Rockford, Illinois, Citadel Corps. They later served as corps officers at the Champaign, Illinois, and Port Huron, Michigan, corps and in 1986 were appointed as divisional youth leaders in the Midland Division.
In early 1991, the Hedgrens transferred to the USA South and led the area commands in Tampa and Miami before a two-year appointment as Atlanta Temple corps officers. Following an appointment on the Arkansas-Oklahoma divisional staff, they served as divisional leaders in AOK and Florida.
In October 2008, they began appointments as chief secretary and territorial secretary for women’s ministries in the USA East and in August 2010 were appointed as Eastern territorial commander and territorial president of women’s ministries. In the fall of 2012, the Hedgrens returned to the USA South as a result of health issues and served as senior consultants.
The Hedgrens served on the teaching staff for the National Seminar on Evangelism, Central Music Institute as well as the South’s Territorial Music Institute and Territorial Youth Institute. They have been featured speakers at officers councils, youth institutes and camps and corps events across the nation and in the Caribbean, Australia and South America. General John Gowans assigned them to plan and coordinate two sessions of the 2000 international congress in Atlanta. General Cox appointed them to coordinate the international officers councils at last year’s Boundless congress in London. They also served on two High Councils. Commissioner Steve was the featured speaker for 10 years on The Salvation Army’s Wonderful Words of Life radio program.
The Hedgrens have two children, Lieutenant Heather Needham (Jay) and Lieutenant Matthew Hedgren (Jessica) who serve as corps officers in Fort Myers and Leesburg, Florida, respectively. They have six grandchildren.