Brown walks around Lake Murray to support LSC New Americans Program

Ron Brown can’t sit still. Even in his retirement he loves to walk, especially when it’s for a cause.

In 2019 the retired pastor walked from Newberry College to Salisbury, North Carolina to raise funds for LSC’s Love One Another campaign. This year, at the age of 70, he decided to make the 60-mile trek around Lake Murray in South Carolina to spread the word and gain support for the LSC New Americans Program.

“I learned about the program online. I had been wanting to do another walk around Lake Murray for something, and I decided this was it,” Brown said. “My dad was in the Air Force. I knew what it was like to move a lot and look for acceptance in a new community. I guess I’ve always had a heart for people who are new to anywhere.”

Brown began walking for fun and exercise with his wife, Kathy, and eventually decided he would try to walk from West Columbia, South Carolina to Kathy’s mother’s house as a challenge. The house was 25 miles away. He made it 20 miles before he had to quit.

But he kept working and building up stamina, and eventually came up with the idea to walk for different causes. His first walk was for Hispanic ministries in the South Carolina Synod. Then he walked The Palmetto Trail to raise awareness and funds for the Shriners Hospitals for Children.

“When I do these things, I usually drive the route I’m going to hike so I know what to expect. Then I figure out mileage and contact congregations to let them know what I’m doing. Usually when they know I’m doing something worthwhile, they are willing to provide hospitality,” Brown said. “Some have even invited me to come inside and given a donation.”

As he was walking around Lake Murray, Brown said he thought about the trek that many refugees make after they are forced to leave their homes.

“I was thinking that at least I have a destination. At the end of each day, I knew where I was going, I had shelter and food,” Brown said. “A lot of those folks who are refugees, they walk like that and at the end of the day they don’t know what is waiting.”

Before he finished his last 5 miles, Brown stopped at Derrick Community Center in Little Mountain, South Carolina where he led a devotion and sang this song that he wrote about refugees.

“Let’s welcome them today. Provide a place to stay. Help them to find a way. Let’s welcome them,” Brown sang.