Old Town Rock Hill, South Carolina
The Rev. Ronal L. King, D.D.
The Rev. Ronal L. King, D.D.
The Rev. Ronal King's early career, as a military policeman in the U.S. Army and a New York City police officer, served him well after he moved to Rock Hill in 1970.
He worked first as York County deputy coroner and later with the York County Council on Drug Abuse. He assisted with the peaceful integration of local high schools. He was motivated by a tragic homicide of a teenager to adopt a life mission of "doing whatever was needed to save the lives of all citizens."
After receiving a ministry degree, he resigned from his job and dedicated his life's work to serving the community's poorest citizens, regardless of race or creed. He served as an associate pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church on Sundays but during the week tirelessly solicited for food, clothing, and shelter for residents of impoverished neighborhoods, including Blackmon Road and Red River.
He put his ministry ahead of his family and his well-being. At one point, he tested his wife's patience by giving away their bed to someone he thought needed it more.
"Dr. Ron King's positive impact on our community over the past half-century cannot be measured. He has dedicated his life to others without asking for compensation."
With the help of business leaders, he formed Christians to Feed the Hungry, a network of volunteers who feed thousands every week. He often works seven days a week, sometimes foregoing sleep, to serve the needy. His ministry takes him into neighborhoods plagued by drugs and gangs.
"From the very beginning, I haven't cared about the color of a person's skin," he said. "I treated everybody the same. Back then, many whites hated me because I was helping the blacks, and many blacks were jealous of what I was doing. Now, they are among my strongest allies."
Because he had ties to impoverished neighborhoods and the mainstream community, Ronal King became a trusted intermediary between the community and area law enforcement agencies. He established "Surrender," a program to encourage people sought by the police to cooperate with authorities. On more than one occasion, he traveled out of state to persuade fugitives to turn themselves in. In turn, he would testify on their behalf.
At age 75, Ron King responds to calls about homeless men living under bridges, displaced single mothers, and vagrants who need assistance on their travels.
Kevin Brackett, 16th Circuit Solicitor, said, "I often worry about him, knowing he is out there relentlessly making his lonely rounds among people who are desperate, and in many cases, mentally ill or addicted. I have never sensed the least bit of fear or concern from him. His faith is so deep."
Dr. Ron King's positive impact on our community over the past half-century cannot be measured. He has dedicated his life to others without asking for compensation.
He helps others without expecting earthly rewards. His trademark greeting, "God bless your beautiful heart," has inspired countless churches, businesses and individuals to follow his example. He is a man of God whose life has provided a more eloquent and compelling sermon than is heard from many pulpits.