Posted in: Lawyers › None
Since his law journey began as a student at the UofSC School of Law, Rick Gleissner, owner of Gleissner Law in Columbia, always knew he wanted to give back to his community.
As a young lawyer, Gleissner donated money to various charities, but as his practice grew, he decided he wanted to take a more hands-on approach to community service. Enter the St. Vincent de Paul society, a part of St. Joseph Church in Columbia, where Gleissner has served as president since 2021.
The organization, which originated in 1833 in France, has conferences around the globe, including Columbia, and has a mission to help and serve those in need. The Columbia Conference assists families by providing food and other assistance when possible.
“I joined a few organizations through my church, and the St. Vincent de Paul Society seemed like a good fit,” said Gleissner. “I started helping another member deliver groceries to the public housing project on Marion Street. We started with about a dozen people that we served. It grew to the point where we were delivering groceries to about 80 people.”
Currently, the organization delivers to 40 people, who Gleissner describes as friends.
“I think the people I serve inspire me,” he said. “I think of them as my friends, and I look forward to visiting with them when I deliver the groceries. They are good and kind and live in a difficult situation. I don’t know if I help them or if they are helping me.”
Delivering groceries is not the only thing the organization does to help the community. St. Vincent de Paul Society runs a pantry, a furniture ministry that provides furniture to single mothers just starting out, and a utilities ministry for those in need who are about to have their electricity disconnected.
One of Gleissner’s favorite moments is when the organization works to spread extra cheer during the holiday season.
“I think my favorite moments are during the holidays when we try to give a little extra,” Gleissner said. “We get contributions from Cardinal Newman at Thanksgiving and buy some hams to give to our friends in need. Knowing that they are being thought of during the holidays always seems to brighten their day, and always brightens my day.”
Caring, genuine and humble are just some of the ways his fellow board member Megan Seiner, executive director of the SC Bar Foundation and secretary of the St. Vincent de Paul Society, has described Gleissner.
“I have been so fortunate to work with Rick Gleissner on the Board of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul,” said Seiner. “Rick truly represents what service to others looks like. He does not focus on his accomplishments but finds ways to assist those in need constantly. In addition to his Society work, he serves as an attorney for individuals with children in foster care. He is a caring and genuinely good person, and his impact on the community reverberates loudly even though he performs his service quietly.”
Gleissner had a few ideas regarding how attorneys can give back.
“There are many, many food pantries operated in South Carolina. In the Midlands, you can get a list of authorized food pantries from Harvest Hope, they are always looking for volunteers.”