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Board of Directors

Sharon Swanson


Sharon Swanson is the Volunteer Coordinator for the Arlington Heights Senior Center.  She joined the Arlington Cares Board because she believes in serving others.  Previously, she coordinated a Jr. High Community Service group for six years at St. Peter's Lutheran School.  She also served as the school board's Servant Coordinator. She has been involved with John Hersey High School's band program as their Hospitality Chairperson for the Chicagoland Band Festival.  She also chairs a steering committee at St. Peter's Lutheran Church to serve the needs of the community.  In her leisure time, Sharon likes to cook and travel.

Robert Ehlert

Vice President

Development Director – Salvation Army, 2005 to present

Chairman, Salvation Army NW Suburban Advisory Council 2008 – 2012
Director, Salvation Army Jobs Program
Member of Holy Family Health Center Citizens Advisory Board
Past President, Optimist Club/Lt. Governor IL State Optimist Club
Faith Lutheran Church, Past Church Council Director
Northern Cook County Work Force Board, Assoc. Member - present



Mary Ellen Juarez


Pastor Randy Thompson

Chaplain - Secretary

Pastor Randy Thompson has been the pastor of Cross and Crown Lutheran Church in Arlington Heights since April, 2001. Cross and Crown reaches out to the community in two significant ways. They have a preschool/daycare called “Kids of the Kingdom” that serves under-resourced families. Also, since May of 2006 they have reached out to the homeless and jobless of the community with a Saturday program called the “Ministry of Hope.” 60-70 guests come for a hot breakfast, hot lunch, a worship service, fellowship, and other services. Pastor Randy lives with his wife, Carol, and daughter, Kira.

Nancy J.Cardella


Nancy works for the Village of Arlington Heights in Human Services. In this capacity, she sees the need and the impact that the funds we raise for Arlington Cares has on its residents. She wishes everyone could see the “hope” in our residents faces when we are able to assist them and is excited to work with this committee on fundraising for Arlington Cares. She has been involved in numerous fundraising opportunities with her church and other community organizations. She is a strong believer in the Village’s and our committee’s motto of “Neighbors Helping Neighbors”.

Ron Crawford


Ron and his wife, Diane, live only a few blocks from Village Hall, in the second house they have owned in Arlington Heights since moving here in 1977. They have two children, a son Ryan, and a daughter, Andrea. Ron worked for Com Ed for 31 years and retired in 2001. During his career, he worked in 10 different offices for Com Ed, all around the Chicago area. His last job was as Public Affairs Director for the northwest suburbs, a position that involved working with public officials and Chambers of Commerce for 15 communities. In that position, he joined the Arlington Heights Chamber of Commerce board of directors and served as president in 1997.

Ron is active with the Rotary Club of Arlington Heights and served as its President in 2008-2009. He also started a bicycle donation program through Rotary which donates “gently used” bikes to needy kids and adults. The program has donated more than 350 bikes over the last four years. Rotary District 6440 selected Ron as the International Service Chair for 2011-2012. A large part of this responsibility is to plan the District’s International Service Trip to Guatemala in January. Next year will be the sixth time that Ron and Diane have traveled to Guatemala to work at a school for Mayan youth in the jungle near the Caribbean.

Ray "Buzz" Gross


Senior Citrus Promotions and Marketing Specialist for State of Florida Department of Citrus for over 30 years. Developed and presented marketing, advertising, and promotional programs to all major accounts in 21 Midwest States and Westeren part of Canada. Also developed theme marketing promotions and community relations programs.

Worked for the following sports teams: Cook County Cheetahs Baseball Team, Crestwood, IL, Kenosha Mammoths Baseball Team, Kane County Cougars, Windy City Dawgs Basketball Team, Elgin Racers Basketball Team, and Schaumburg Flyers Baseball Team for over 12 years. Developed and presented marketing, advertising, and promotional programs to all major accounts in the market place. Also, developed theme marketing promotions and community relations programs.

Ray is a member of Faith Lutheran Church for over 50 years. He is the Head Usher, President of the Men's Bowling League, Member of the Men's Club, set-up the altar for Communion every Sunday and also assist on giving communion. Set up the Men's Club baseball outing each year. Past years for the church Ray was Chairman of the Elder Board, Chairman of the Personnel Committee and set-up the men's softball and basketball teams. Also worked on many other committees when needed.

John K. Arpan


John attended Northern Illinois University and Northwestern. He moved to Arlington Heights 37 years ago and attends Faith Lutheran Church just south of down town. John began his working career as an engineer for ITT Harper in Morton Grove for 13 years then moved on to become General Manager of Nylok Fastener Corp located in Lincolnwood for 7 years. In 1990 thinking that emerging PC and Internet technology just might go somewhere, he made the difficult but rewarding decision to change careers. John started with Champagne Associates, a small application development firm in Arlington hts, then joined IKON,s Systems Integration Group as Senior Account Manager until he moved up to Technical Services Director for Corporate Micro Systems in Mt Prospect which specialized in the design, installation and training of multi sight business information systems and bandwidth infrastructure analysis in the ever growing, ever changing world of IT. John currently pursues his hobby of antique car collecting and started a small Graphic Arts Company called American Dream Machines, which specializes in antique car artwork and a clothing line of T shirts imprinted with car art. For the past 10 years John has also pursued part time his passion for music at Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music in their choral department. He has two children; Dan who lives in Arizona, has three sons and works for the University of Phoenix and Aimee who lives in Arlington Hts., along with her two daughters.

Mayor Arlene J. Mulder

Honorary Board Member

“Neighbors helping Neighbors is the essence of Arlington Cares.
I am proud to support this organization that works to help our less
fortunate residents through these uncertain economic times”.