Editorial: Those who serve the community are its backbone

By on November 20, 2009

Elburn resident and Lazarus House Executive Director Darlene Marcusson received the Kane County Sheriff’s Department Roscoe Ebey Citizen of the Year award for her community service.

While she may have earned the award in 2009, it is her many years of dedicated service to those in need that endears her to those she comes into contact with, whether they be fellow volunteers and community servants or those seeking assistance.

Her past 12 years of service has been as founder and executive director of Lazarus House in St. Charles, a homeless shelter and service provider that serves the Tri-Cities and western Kane County.

During those dozen years, Marcusson turned a proposed city ordinance to outlaw vagrancy into an idea that motivated the St. Charles City Council—and those who learned of her speech before the council members—to support her efforts of creating a homeless shelter.

Marcusson’s funding began with a $200 gift from a local 10-year-old girl who wanted to do her part to serve those in need; and 12 years later, Lazarus House now occupies three buildings, including a Center for Transitional Living and a Women and Children’s Day Center.

She has received numerous awards and honors during this time, ranging for her work on behalf of victims of violence to her efforts advocating for those battling mental illness.

But if you ask Kane County Sheriff Pat Perez about why she deserves the award, he would say that the award is due to the way Marcusson treats each individual she serves. It is her consistent focus on one person, one family, at a time that stood out for Perez.

“I see the care and respect Darlene provides not just to individuals, but sometimes entire families,” Perez said to Elburn Herald reporter Martha Quetsch on Tuesday. “She gives people who have become homeless hope and every opportunity possible to help rebuild their lives and once again gain independence.”

We congratulate Darlene Marcusson on her recognition, and we know the impact she has had on those she serves, as well as those who serve beside her, has been immense.

Read through our paper each week and you will see numerous examples of people like Darlene Marcusson, who serve as the backbone of our communities by serving its members.

For Darlene and those like her, we owe you our thanks for making our communities that much stronger.