Commissioners Steve and Judy Hedgren — Biography
Commissioners Steve and Judy Hedgren will complete their service as Officers in The Salvation Army on April 1, 2016, serving 38 years as Officers. They have brought to their officership a variety of backgrounds and skills being appointed to 3 of the 4 territories of the USA.
Commissioned as officers in 1978 (serving one year as Cadet/Lieutenants) after completing training as members of the Disciples of Jesus session in the USA Central they held 3 corps appointments and served as Divisional Youth Secretaries in the Midland Division headquartered in St. Louis, MO.
In 1991 they were transferred to the USA South as Area Commanders/Corps Officers for Tampa and then Miami Area Command before being appointed in 1997 to be Corps Officers at Atlanta GA Temple. In 1999 Commissioner Steve was appointed as the General Secretary and 6 months later as the Divisional Commander for the Arkansas/Oklahoma and Florida Divisions. During that same time Commissioner Judy served as Coordinator for Women’s Ministries for Miami and Tampa, and Assistant and then Divisional Director of Women’s Ministries for the Arkansas/Oklahoma and Florida Divisions.
From 2008 until 2010 they were appointed as Chief Secretary and the Territorial Secretary for Women’s ministries in the USA Eastern Territory and from 2010-2012 Commissioner Steve was appointed by General Shaw Clifton as the Territorial Commander for the USA East and Commissioner Judy as the President for Women’s Ministries, both with the rank of Commissioners. In the fall of 2012 the Hedgrens returned to the USA South due to health issues as Senior Consultants.
Commissioner Judy Hedgren is a 2nd generation Salvationist along with her brother (Lt.-Col. Larry White) and parents who were Majors Larry and Edith White, Adult Rehabilitation Officers who were promoted to glory a few years ago. She attended Asbury College, LSU, and earned a degree from Massey Business College after which she accepted a job with Delta Airlines as a Flight Attendant based in Chicago.
She was assigned to the International College for Officers in October 1995 in the 143rd session. She credits those 8 weeks of intensive training as one of the highlights of her officership. During her years of leadership in the USA East she completely revamped the Women’s Ministries program department keeping its strong attraction to women of all ages yet focusing on the emerging younger women, both professionally and “stay at home” moms. Her theme “Let it Rain” became a popular social media site as well as providing materials to women for new and updated bible study, personal interaction, professional growth, and service projects. She also produced a book entitled “On Your Feet Applauding”, featuring stories of Silver Star recepients.
Commissioner Steve grew up in the Chicago area and attended The Salvation Army as his family church along with his 3 sisters (Claudia Sjogren, Lt.-Col. Diane Marshall, and Deborah) and father and mother Robert and Eleanor Hedgren who have also been promoted to glory. He completed his Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Northern Illinois University and following graduation attended the Institute for Biblical Studies sponsored by Campus Crusade for Christ and taught by faculty from Dallas Theological Seminary. Upon completion of the mandatory courses he became a staff member for Campus Crusade stationed at Arizona State University attached to the athletic department.
The Hedgrens met in 1972 when Steve returned to Chicago to work for The Salvation Army Chicago Unified Command. They were married in April of 1975 and entered The Salvation Army School for Officers Training in Chicago in the fall of 1976.
In addition to their appointments, they have also served on the teaching staff for The Soldiers National Seminar on Evangelism, The Central Music Institute, The Territorial Music Institute (USA-South), and The Territorial Youth Institute (USA- South). They have been featured speakers at Officer Councils, Youth Institutes and Camps, and Corps celebrations in all four USA territories, the Caribbean, Australia, and South America. General John Gowans assigned them to plan and coordinate two sessions at The International Congress in Atlanta GA in 2000 and General Andre Cox assigned them to coordinate the International Officers Councils at the recent International Boundless Congress in the summer of 2015 in London England. The Hedgrens have also served on two High Councils with the most recent in 2014 when Andre Cox was elected General.
Commissioner Steve, while serving in St. Louis was part of the pastoral team that was attached to the St. Louis Cardinals often presenting pre game devotions on Sundays to the Cardinals and visiting teams. He was a workshop presenter at regional and the National Youth Specialties Institute. He was the featured speaker for 10 years on The Salvation Army’s worldwide radio broadcast called “Wonderful Words of Life”. On two occasions at the aftermath of several major hurricanes in the state of Florida he served as the personal escort to President George W. Bush as he, Governor Jeb Bush and the White House team visited those most affected by these natural disasters. Commissioner Steve has also co-authored a book Mapping Our Salvationist DNA.
The Hedgrens are proud parents of two children—Lt. Heather Needham and Lt Matthew Hedgren who along with their spouses Jay and Jessica and 6 grandchildren, Griffin and Harper Needham and, Brody, Ryder, Tate, and Duke Hedgren serve as Salvation Army officers, making them even prouder!!
The Hedgrens retired on April 1, 2016 in Tampa Florida.