Terry Crews Highlights The Salvation Army’s Annual Civic Luncheon

May 17, 2024

The Salvation Army North and Central Illinois Division hosted its much-anticipated annual Civic Luncheon on May 16th, and once again, it did not disappoint. Held in the iconic Aon Grand Ballroom at Navy Pier, the event drew over 700 enthusiastic guests for an unforgettable day of food, fun, and fellowship.

The Pack Drumline kicked off the festivities, electrifying the ballroom with their high-energy performance. Fresh from their stint on America’s Got Talent, they set the tone for the day, leaving the audience in awe and hungry for more.

This annual celebration is more than just a gathering—it’s a powerful testament to the incredible work done by The Salvation Army throughout the year. It’s also a time to honor the prestigious William Booth and Others Award recipients. They are individuals and organizations who embody the spirit of Salvation Army founder William Booth by putting others first.

This year, the spotlight shone brightly on Jewel-Osco, recipient of the William Booth Award, for their unwavering support.

Advisory Board Member Bruce Williamson received the Others Award, recognizing his decades of dedication both locally and nationally. In his heartfelt acceptance speech, Bruce humbly stated, “It’s a privilege. It’s not work, it’s a privilege to serve The Salvation Army.”

The event was masterfully emceed by longtime NBC5 reporter Phil Rogers, whose personal connection to The Salvation Army added a special touch. Phil’s engaging presence and anecdotes captivated the audience, underscoring his deep-rooted relationship with The Salvation Army.

The highlight of the luncheon was an inspiring interview with actor, comedian, author, activist, and former professional athlete Terry Crews. Conducted by Chicago Area Commander Major Caleb Senn, the 30-minute conversation delved into Crews’ personal journey and his admiration for The Salvation Army’s mission.

“This is what I love about The Salvation Army,” Crews shared passionately. “My wife and I live in the Pasadena area. And the one thing about Pasadena is there’s a big homelessness problem. There are a lot of people roaming the streets, and The Salvation Army are the only people I see doing something, like helping. First of all, they’re out there providing shelter, providing food, providing opportunities for these people to get up and start changing their lives.

“I said wait a minute, wait a minute, The Salvation Army is different. And my wife decided to get on the board of The Salvation Army in Pasadena, so she’s now a board member.

“And I have to say this, there are a lot of charities that won’t let you mention God. You can’t mention Jesus. You can’t mention your faith. And I didn’t want to be a part of that either, because for me, it’s the core.”

Crews also shared touching moments with VIPs before taking the stage, offering a personal glimpse into his commitment to giving back. For those lucky enough to meet him, it was a memorable encounter with one of Hollywood’s most genuine stars.

Another poignant moment came from Envoy Theo Coleman, who shared his powerful testimony of overcoming life’s obstacles with the help of The Salvation Army. His story of finding sobriety and happiness moved the audience, earning him one of the many standing ovations of the day. “Thank you to every person that gives to The Salvation Army,” Theo expressed. “Sometimes we lose our way, and sometimes we need a helping hand. That journey makes us appreciate that hand up even more.”

The celebration continued with the presentation of a generous $405,000 check from Jewel-Osco, the result of their February register donation event. The funds will provide crucial support to thousands of families across the region. Jewel-Osco’s Director of Communications, Public Affairs & Government Relations, Mary Frances Trucco, and mascot JoJo handed over the giant check to Lt. Colonel Jonathan Rich amidst thunderous applause.

“We have had a longstanding partnership with The Salvation Army,” Mary Frances remarked. “And that will always continue. Thank you for all you do for The Salvation Army and what The Salvation Army does to help so many people.”

As the largest single fundraising event of the year for The Salvation Army, the Civic Luncheon’s impact is immense. It supports over fifty critical programs, from food banks to mobile feeding units, ensuring that The Salvation Army can continue its mission of Doing the Most Good.

Recent Stories

Related Content: Special Events

Get Involved
Share Your Story

We would love to hear about your experience with The Salvation Army.

Share My Story


A gift to The Salvation Army helps someone in your community.

Give Now



Do Good in your community

Find Worship

Join us throughout the week for worship, fellowship, Bible study, meals, community service and fun.