Crossing County Lines

In mid-March 2017, in the middle of a blizzard that shuttered businesses and kept residents indoors, Ron Willoughby didn’t take the snow day. He’s the boss—the Executive Director and CEO of the Springfield Rescue Mission, so he very well could have.
Instead, he braved the roadways to ensure that his organization and its employees were able to provide the daily meals that those in need in greater Springfield rely on. “When the weather is bad, that’s when people need us most,” he says.
Ron has led the Rescue Mission since 1987 because he’s proud of its history and commitment to helping others.
“We have reached out and touched thousands of lives—hurting people, people who are down and out for one reason or another—and that’s just very inspiring to us,” he says, speaking for himself and his 18 staff members.
 Each year, the Springfield Rescue Mission serves over 100,000 meals and provides shelter to thousands who are homeless or otherwise in need of assistance. With no government funds, it relies on community members—Florence Bank included.
In the spring of 2016, Florence Bank donated $25,000 to the nonprofit so that the cost of relocating to its new 10 Mill St. headquarters would not threaten services. The Rescue Mission is also one of the 97 nonprofits in Hampden County alone that Florence Bank has supported with over $300,000 in grants and gifts in the past five years.
“They are obviously showing their ability to go forward,” Ron says. “Seeing Florence Bank reach out and better the community by providing more services in this area, and offering grants and other giving—it shows they have a heart and are willing to share. They are willing to demonstrate their compassion for their clients and customers but also to others.”