By Kay Cozad
FORT WAYNE — The late Bev McArdle was honored and remembered during the dedication ceremony April 24 at the new Women’s Care Center at 419 E. Wayne St. in downtown Fort Wayne. The lovely older home was crowded with administrative staff, employees, volunteers, board members and friends of the center for the event.
Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades was on hand to dedicate the new facility that replaces one on Webster Street purchased by the city as part of a large redevelopment project.
“Bless and sanctify this place,” Bishop Rhoades began. He noted that it is especially appropriate that this dedication occur during Easter week when the Church is celebrating the victory of life.
He called the Women’s Care Center a witness to life. The Gospel of Life, the Gospel of Love and the Gospel of Mercy are all in evidence here, he noted. “Today we ask God’s blessing on this home.”
Executive Director Bobby Williams reflected on the 10 years of Women’s Care Centers’ work in the community under the able leadership of Anne Koehl. “And thanks to all of you who love and support us,” more than 18,000 women have been served, he said.
He credited the generosity of the Mary Cross Tippmann Foundation for the donation of the newest Wayne Street facility.
Director Koehl reflected on her friend Bev McArdle’s work at the center and contribution to the Crib Club, which is an onsite infant and children’s store stocked and staffed by members of the Christ Child Society.
“While all the Christ Child members have been wonderful, Bev had such a unique way of quietly working behind the scenes. … She was such a faithful servant, always putting the needs of our struggling young moms ahead of anything else. She gave of herself so freely and cheerfully,” Koehl said. “Bev was such a wonderful role model for all of us. …”
Christ Child Society president Ann Arnold, in an email, recalled McArdle as “the embodiment of a true servant, giving of herself in very simple ways”… and “an inspiration to all of us.”
A plaque commemorating her has been placed in the Crib Club room there.
Koehl also offered a brief history of Women’s Care Centers in Fort Wayne. The first center opened in January of 2004 on Webster Street, next door to the local abortion clinic, in a lovely, totally refurbished home donated by John Popp, she said. Its location contributed to its success, as many women entered thinking they were in the abortion clinic and received, instead, a life-affirming message of hope.
In 2006 a second care center opened on Inwood Avenue and in 2009 a third center opened on West Coliseum Boulevard in a “wonderful, very visible location,” which has made it the most highly visited site in Fort Wayne.
Now the 419 E. Wayne St. location will allow us to “grow in numbers and in hope,” she said happily.
On Monday, May 19, the Tippmann-McArdle Women’s Care Center Golf Classic fundraiser will be held in Fort Wayne. “This is a wonderful opportunity to support the good works of the Women’s Care Center and its vital mission to love and support the women and children of Fort Wayne,” says its invitational letter. For further information, contact any center or Executive Director Bobby Williams at 574-274-0313.
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