Volunteer keeps higher calling

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 14, 2004

McNair Ramsey wears many hats as college administrator, pastor and community leader.

He is now ending his one-year term as president of Rotary Club, whose motto is “Service Above Self.”

That motto describes Ramsey – who is

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vice president for development at Concordia College and pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Vredenburgh – precisely.

“I enjoy each activity. Sometimes you feel overtaxed, but serving others and making a better life for others is a joy and the reason I do it. Otherwise I wouldn’t do it,” he said.

Ramsey was born in Camden and attended grade school there and then enrolled in Concordia College, then a junior college with a two-year high school division.

Ramsey continued his education in the Missouri Synod Lutheran Church system, graduating from Concordia University in Seward, Neb. He later earned a master’s degree

at the University of San Francisco and a doctorate at Atlanta University.

He moved to Selma from Detroit

in 1980 to join the Concordia administration.

His service activities are many.

Ramsey has been a member of the civic group One Selma for five or six years and has been co-chair for about the same length of time. He’s been on the United Way board for several years, the board of Jonathan Daniels Community Development Center for four, the Dallas County Advisory Board for Peoples Bank & Trust, the task force for the Department of Human Resources

almost since its beginning in 1980 and a member of Rotary for eight years.

He also had a major hand in organizing Rotaract, a student group based at Concordia,

sponsored by Rotary,

committed to community service and to set a positive example for fellow students. According to Ramsey there are only three clubs in Alabama. The club meets for lunch biweekly and sponsors fund-raisers to raise money

to donate to the Rotary Foundation, an international organization. Some of the money raised, he said, stays in Selma but much goes for distribution to deserving projects internationally. The foundation’s work encompasses such programs

as polio vaccinations in Third World countries, building homes in poor areas, water purification programs, literacy and hearing aids for children overseas.

In addition, members of Rotaract sing at area nursing homes and visit with residents, along with participating in

programs for children, such as recreation and tutoring.

“They must keep their grades up,” he said, “in order to remain in the program.”

“Service above self” – that’s the motto by which Ramsey lives his life and the value instilled in the next generation in the Rotaract club through his efforts and others.

Ramsey said, “When I was a child growing up in Camden, I thought going to Selma was like going to New York.” “I still love Selma and have had many opportunities to move. I have chosen to abide here.”