After a career in special education, Anne started helping in her children's Sunday School classes. In 1995, God placed a burden in her heart for the unchurched children in her Colorado community; she began clubs for kids in mobile home communities. Following nine years of service as the children’s director in two large churches and a move to the Charlotte area, Anne stepped out in faith to begin Caterpillar Ministries in Huntersville. Her testimony of Jesus' healing  grace from difficult childhood challenges enabled her to spread a message of love and redemption.

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Anne knew from experience the transforming power of Christ, and she wanted to share that with the families in Huntington Green. Under her leadership and God’s provision, Caterpillar Ministries grew from a lunch program with five children to a ministry that now touches hundreds of neighbors weekly. The Crawfords are retired and enjoying life at the beach and in the mountains.


For 14 years, Caterpillar Ministries has been growing and changing alongside the residents of the Huntington Green community. We love our neighbors (seniors, adults, youth and children) and always want to be learning more about the love of Jesus and serving others with them. We provide spiritual support and education; academic assistance, including tutoring, back-to-school supplies and liaison with schools; family activities like seasonal parties, summer camps and teen nights; adult programs like sewing classes and nutrition for women; and benevolence in the form of a food pantry, and help with rent/utilities. Often, advocacy and crisis assistance offer a light of hope in scary situations. 

And the Lord — who is the Spirit — makes us more and more like Him as we are changed

into His glorious image.   2 Cor. 3:18

While the staff said goodbye to Anne Crawford, our founder who retired in 2020, we look forward to many more years of faithful friendship and ministry in the neighborhood and the wider community. We invite you to be a part of Team Caterpillar. Please reach out and stop by Dad's House for a visit!

Sarah Fortner

C A T E R P I L L A R   S T A F F 
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Sarah Fortner | Executive Director             

Sarah joined the Caterpillar team in 2017, when the ministry expanded into adult services and programs; she became the executive director in 2020. Sarah excelled in the business and financial world before dedicating her life to vocational ministry; she served at Independence Hill Baptist Church for 12 years leading children's ministry. She also was as the operations manager at Angels and Sparrows Soup Kitchen. Sarah can't wait to see what God has in store for Huntington Green and every single one of our neighbors. The generous spirit of this community — faith, civic, and business — benefits all. Sarah attends Independence Hill Baptist Church.


Renae Pawlowski | Program Director                 

Renae started volunteering with Caterpillar in 2018, teaching adult ESL; she officially joined the team to help with summer programming. After her ninth year of teaching K-2 in local public and charter schools, she is excited to be back and in a new role with Caterpillar year-round. She and her husband, Michael, are expecting their first child in December. They attend Lake Forest Church-Huntersville. 


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Maria Gandy | Preschool Director              

Maria was born in Mexico, where she was one of eight children raised in poverty. At age 9, she lost

her dad to alcoholism. The family moved to Houston when she was 11; Maria started sixth grade and learned English. She graduated high school with honors and joined the U.S. Navy where she met her husband. Maria accepted Jesus Christ as her savior in 1998, and she found her faith to be her greatest asset when she lost her daughter, Sofia, to cancer in 2001. Maria and Clint have two teenagers: Cruz

and Isabel. The Gandy family attends Christ Community Church.


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Aileen Hinojosa | Youth Director              

Aileen was was born in México and lived there until age 15 with two younger siblings. She accepted

Jesus into her heart as Lord and Savior in her adult years, and began volunteering at Caterpillar when

she helped with the youth ministry at First Baptist Church in Huntersville and started the Prom Closet. Previously, Aileen taught Spanish at Chesterbrook Academy. Aileen is married to her high

school sweetheart, Juan, and together they have a teen son, Christian. The family attends First Baptist Church Huntersville.


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Pat Geary | Tutoring Director                 

Pat is loved by our children and teens! She volunteered with Caterpillar very early on, but just joined Caterpillar in 2018, following a career as an assistant teacher and reading specialist. Past most recently was an elementary technology teacher in Charlotte. She and her husband, Rob, have two adult children: Eric and Alyssa. The Gearys attend Hickory Grove Baptist Church-North.


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Lee McCracken | Communications Director             

Lee joined the team in 2018, bringing years of writing, editing and promotional experience with her to help engage the community in all that's going on at Caterpillar. She teaches Bible study and is active in women's ministry at her church; Lee is a Christian author, whose memoir about infant loss, adoption, cancer and mental illness was published in 2013. Lee and her husband, Stuart, have one adult daughter, Megan. They attend Lake Forest Church-Huntersville.


2021  C A T E R P I L L A R   B O A R D  O F  D I R E C T O R S
These are the Godly men and women who oversee
the direction and stewardship of the ministry.

Rev. Eric Bartel


Lorie Lee
Vice Chair

Gwen Howard


Steve Walker

Dan Finnegan

Kim Muhich

Danny Decker

Sheila Del Aguila

Susannah Crawford