Pro-Lifers

Orangeburg County Citizens for Life Rocks the 49th Annual NRL Convention in South Carolina

By Sally J. Zaleski

Evelyn Grindle (Center) preparing for the Stand Up for Life March and Rally to begin on January 10, 2015.

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

Edmund Burke’s words of wisdom motivates Richard (Dick) Grindle in his pro-life outreach.

A resident of Santee, South Carolina, Grindle frequently refers to Burke when he encounters other pro-lifers.

(We) “have to be a ‘doer’ of the word,” says Grindle.

Grindle was joined at the annual National Right to Life Convention held in Charleston, South Carolina by eight of the eleven members of Orangeburg County Citizens for Life (OCCL). Grindle volunteered as a workshop moderator.

While teaching a moral theology class, Grindle will ask his students what they do to protect and support life. Most tell him prayer, which he acknowledges as “good”, but then he challenges them further by asking, “what else?”

Grindle has always been prolife and has always believed in the “5th Commandment of ‘Thou Shalt Not Kill’.” Even when he was “living life and in and out of church,” Grindle “never had a doubt this was a child with a soul; not a blob of tissue or a glob of cells. I have always believed this was a baby.”

The year was 1964.

Grindle’s pro-life convictions would meet a kindred soul, and the soul’s name was Evelyn.

Evelyn had just graduated from high school and was staying with her brother in Altus, Oklahoma while pursuing her education in cosmetology. Dick was stationed at Altus Air Force Base as an Airman 1st Class. Not believing in long engagements, Dick and Evelyn would marry on September 4, 1965.

Gene Zaleski (L), Orangeburg County Citizens for Life Secretary, and Dick Grindle (R), who is the VP for Orangeburg County Citizens for Life.

“I was a classic guy, but Evelyn was the strength,” Grindle said. “Nothing remarkable happened to cause me to transition from passive to active in the right to life battle. The transition was initiated by supporting a remarkable woman; my wife and her passion for the unborn.”

Evelyn was the “doer of the word” Dick so admired in their life together.

In 1988, Evelyn and Dick moved to Hartsville, SC and looked for ways to get involved in their Catholic church. Evelyn realized no one was talking about the prolife issue.

This was a reality she wanted to change.

She began putting up prolife posters, but someone took offence and began tearing down everything Evelyn put up. The incident lit a fire in Evelyn that would never be extinguished, says Grindle.

Over the years, Dick and Evelyn’s passion for the unborn took them on a prolife journey of leadership roles.

The couple would move to Santee where Dick got involved in the Knights of Columbus and the church’s right to life initiatives.

The couple also participated in the annual March for Life in St. Augustine, Florida; the annual Proudly Prolife Weekend and Stand up for Life March and Rally in Columbia, South Carolina; and prayed monthly at the North Charleston abortion clinic.

OCCL chapter members Hou-Yin Chang (L) and Mary Kemp (R). 

They then became involved with Orangeburg County Citizens for Life (OCCL) on October 28, 2013 when the chapter reorganized. Dick was elected the chapter Vice-President and has served in that capacity since that time.

“What keeps me going is my commitment to my wife,“ Dick said.

Evelyn died in November 2018 after a prolonged illness. Dick continues the prolife work his wife was so passionate about.

“The mightiness of the Chapter’s members has never been more evident, especially since the members hail from a county that is historically ‘blue’ and antagonistic to the pro-life cause,” Gene Zaleski, Orangeburg County Chapter Secretary said.

Orangeburg County, South Carolina is a Democrat strong-hold with two of the state’s most vicious pro-abort politicians: state Senator Brad Hutto and state Representative Gilda Cobb-Hunter.

The majority of the county is in the 6th Congressional District and, since 1993, constituents continue to re-elect Democrat Congressman James Clyburn.

A small portion of the county lies in the 2nd Congressional District represented by Republican Congressman Joe Wilson.

“Senator Hutto has refused to listen to his constituents as he is a de facto leader of the Chicago Machine here,” Hou-Yin Chang, an OCCL member, said. “Senator Hutto has never worried about opponents going on radio to blast him, and Representative Clyburn has never cared because opponents need to be in five television markets.”

“These legislators refuse to listen to us,” Chang continued.

However, unlike the Orangeburg County legislators, Chang listened intently at the NRL Convention Closing Banquet to Kurt and Chloe Kondrich.

“Kurt and Chloe have made an impression as you could hear her speak and hear him discuss the hardships of raising her,” Chang said. “Yet sadly, the children with an extra chromosome are too often slaughtered – and there is an increasing push to slaughter people who are not 100% perfect, a return to the Hitlerian Eugenics movement.”

“Every life is precious and to hang around her (Chloe) was enough to see how every child is important,” said Chang, who volunteered as an oratory official.

OCCL Chapter member, Mary Kemp, who is tri-racial– “white middle east, (black), and Native American”–races which have historically faced oppression, has been actively involved in the prolife movement for years.

For her, Orangeburg County has proven to be difficult as well.

“I have been able to participate in the Catholic Day at the Capitol but (have met) none of the representatives from this (Orangeburg) county…only their staff assistants,” said Kemp, who was unable to attend the convention due to illness.

“There is still a lot of work to be done to educate the pro-abortionists about being pro-life,” Kemp continued.

Like Kemp, other OCCL chapter members see the work that needs to be done and stepped forward to volunteer at the Convention.

The Reverend David Battle, Pastor, Cameron Southern Methodist Church, officiated at the Saturday evening Protestant service; Jean-Marie Jump was a workshop moderator; Judy Battle and Darren Jump were notaries, and Gene Zaleski pitched in to help with other tasks as needed.

OCCL also takes the pro-life message to the community.

The chapter is involved in the annual Orangeburg Festival of Roses, the Orangeburg Christmas Parade, and the Orangeburg County Fair.

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

These words of admonition have been taken to heart and made flesh through the members of Orangeburg County Citizens for Life.

Editor’s note. Sally J. Zaleski is Executive Office Manager, South Carolina Citizens for Life, and President, Orangeburg County Citizens for Life.

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