Chittom keeps plate full for Selma

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 7, 2004

Dr. Park Chittom Sr., longtime Selma physician, is a man for all seasons.


something is happening that crosses lines in the Christian community,

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is likely to be a part of it.

He and his wife, Annette have been here for 31 years, and now it seems that they have been here forever. His son Park Jr. is in practice with his father and their daughter

Paige lives in Nashville. Chittom says, proudly, that he has 3 1/2 grandchildren – the fourth due in August.

Chittom, after a brief medical practice in his native state of Mississippi, responded to the call of the Selma Doctor’s Clinic to come here in 1973 and he’s been here ever since.

He received his medical training in Mississippi, and served as flight surgeon at Craig Air Force Base in the late 1960s.

That’s how Selma and Dallas County first captured his attention.

Chittom’s path to volunteerism came gradually.

He recalls that his first non-medical volunteer activity began in the late 1980s with Habitat for Humanity. He served thereafter on the board for 15 years, seven or eight of them as vice chairman. He was very active in the 1999 Habitat Blitz Build here which constructed a large number of houses.

Another major commitment has been to the civic group One Selma that began in the early 1990s in response to community unrest. Chittom said, “I was not part of it at the beginning but got aboard soon after it got started and have been with it now about 10 years. We meet every Tuesday for breakfast and I serve as vice-chairman of the group. For several years we sponsored an interfaith service in connection with the Bridge Crossing Jubilee. More recently we have been involved with Sweep Selma Clean in cooperation with the city and several other groups.” Sweep Selma Clean is a partnership of several groups, including One Selma, which is forging an ongoing effort with parents, school children and others to work on the problem of litter control in the community.

Chittom has also been a member of the board of Save-A-Life for about five years, which addresses the needs of those with problem pregnancies as well as conducting a Christ-centered ministry of education in the community through schools and other groups.

The Jonathan Daniels Community Development Corporation is named for

the civil rights worker slain in Hayneville in 1965 and over the years has played a major role in gathering resources to strengthen those parts of the community that need special assistance. Chittom has been a member of the board since its inception and serves as vice chairman.

Chittom’s most recent commitment is to God’s Miracle Ranch, located in far northeast Dallas County – a facility that will provide Christ-centered care for youth who will live on site in cottages being built and receive services appropriate to their needs. The project is noteworthy in that it involves support from all sectors of the religious community and is being constructed almost completely – up to this point – with donated goods and services.

Chittom also chairs the steering committee responsible for Jesus Day

and the National Day of Prayer. He said he’s been involved with Jesus Day for seven years and with the National Day of Prayer for 10-12.

Last but not least, Chittom is a faithful member of First Baptist Church on Lauderdale Street, where he serves as an active deacon. While his tie is with First Baptist, Chittom has notably worked closely with persons from other denominations and believes strongly in uniting the body of Christ wherever possible and in breaking down the racial

divisions in the community.

“My major motive in being involved in these projects, as a physician and as a member of the community, is to give back what the community has given to me. I want to leave this community better

than it was when I got here,” he says.

Years ago, when his parents’ home was wiped out in Mississippi by a tornado he marveled at the way the community came together to provide everything his parents needed to rebuild.

It’s clear that Chittom’s lifetime of service is deeply grounded in love and appreciation for all that he and his family have received from God and others. And that foundation is a powerful force for good in the community.