Dr. Park’s voluntary service began during WWII where he was in the U.S. Navy from 1943- 46 as a Radar Maintenance Officer aboard a light cruiser in the Pacific Theater. Upon his return, he attended the Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in Columbia and was ordained as a minister in the Lutheran Church in America. His first assignment was organizer and first pastor of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Columbia, where he served for nine years. He subsequently served as professor at the Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in Columbia from 1961 until his retirement in 1987.
Dr. Park served as president of the S.C. Gerontological Society and as chairman of the Governor’s Advisory Council on Elder Affairs; and as chairman of the Senior Services Advisory Council of the Irmo- Chapin Recreation Commission.
During the 1960 and 70’s, Dr. Park was an active participant in the unpublicized integration of lunch counters and the Palmetto movie theater on Main Street. In 1968, he supported the voluntary integration of Eau Claire High School where his son attended. The next year he supported mandatory zoning of public schools which sent two of his children to a formerly black high school. He served as vice president of the PTA. In part due to Dr. Park’s calming and peaceful presence, there were no demonstrations or violence. In the 1970s, he helped organize the Eau Claire Community Project to foster good relations between races. He served as chairman of that board for two years and started an integrated kindergarten at Ascension Lutheran Church.
Todd Lewis Todd Lewis Dr. Park was a member of the S.C. Gerontological Society. He was instrumental in urging required basic training for all persons employed in working with the elderly. He was involved in the early development of the Governor’s Advisory Council on Elder Affairs, which helped assure that each S.C. County would provide direct services to sup- port the elderly such as Meals on Wheels and the expansion of senior centers throughout the state.
Dr. Park introduced “Ministry with the Elderly” into the Seminary curriculum. Since the 1980s, he has been an active participant with Meals on Wheels. For the past 20 years he has been a volunteer at the Lowman Home (a Nursing Home and Retirement community) giving 50- 120 hours per year. He also has done volunteer work at the Columbia emergency Homeless Shelters, Shepherds Centers, and with the Greater Columbia Cooperative Ministry.
In his work with the Irmo- Chapin Recreation Commission, he was a key person in the development of and in acquiring the funding for Saluda Shoals Park, a 270 acre environmentally sensitive park located along the riverfront of the Saluda River near Columbia.
He was presented the Irmo- Chapin Recreation Commission “Volunteer of the Year” award in 1999. In 2002, he was given the “Citizen Lay Award” by the State Recreation & Parks Commission.
Dr. Park says, “The Lord put me in those spots, and I just did what I thought was right.”
Dr. Park has been married to Betty Habenicht Park for 57 years. They have three children and three grandchildren. Dr. Park holds AB and D.D. degrees from Newberry College; MDiv. from Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary; along with doctoral studies at Princeton Theological Seminary. He is an active member of Ebenezer Lutheran Church where he sings in the choir and performs other volunteer church work. He belongs to the Tanglefoots Square Dance Club and enjoys reading, singing with the Dutch Fork Choral Society, boating, and water skiing.
The Columbia Sertoma Club strongly endorses Dr. Park as recipient of the District, Regional, and International Service to Mankind Awards.
The Columbia Sertoma Club recently honored Todd Lewis as the organization’s Sertoman of the Year for 2008. Lewis is the club’s former president and current chairman of the board. Lewis created and managed the club’s annual Football Tailgate Fundraiser for Charity, which last year generated revenues of greater than $15,000.
In addition, Sertoma’s Wade Hampton District honored Lewis as its 2008 Sertoman of the Year. The District is comprised of ten Sertoma Clubs in the Midlands. The district’s award makes Lewis eligible for consideration as the Sertoman of the Year in the Atlantic Coast Region, which covers South Carolina and five other states. That winner will be announced later this Spring at the regional convention in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
The Columbia Sertoma Club has supported South Carolina charities for more than 50 years and meets during lunch on Monday’s at Seawell’s on Rosewood Drive.
See the story in the Columbia Star.