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Russellville Park Resident Spotlight: Harold Burden

Russellville Park Resident Spotlight

Alissa Sauer

Russellville Park senior living in Portland, OR, is a special place. A community in every sense of the word, we believe that every resident has a unique story to tell, and through our resident spotlight blog series, we aim to celebrate their lives, accomplishments, and experiences. In this blog, meet Russellville Park independent living resident Harold O. Burden.

Harold O. Burden: A Military Story Celebrated at Russellville Park

Russellville Park Resident Harold BurdenBorn on April 9, 1931, in College Place, a suburb of Walla Walla, Washington, Harold grew up in a family deeply rooted in the medical profession. His father was a doctor, and his mother a nurse, fostering an environment that instilled a strong sense of service and compassion within him.

Education played a significant role in Harold’s life as he embarked on his academic journey within the Seventh-day Adventist school system. From grade school to college and graduate degrees, he thrived in his pursuit of knowledge, laying a solid foundation for the remarkable journey that awaited him.

In 1953, at the age of 18, Harold registered for possible military service, and his classification as a conscientious objector, marked as 1-A-O, spoke volumes about his unwavering principles and beliefs. His military service officially commenced later that year when he was inducted in San Francisco and processed in Fort Ord. Basic training took him to Camp Picket in Virginia, where he honed his skills and resilience.

Fort Sam Houston, Texas, became the next destination for Harold as he embarked on an advanced medical laboratory procedures course that spanned 16 weeks. His exceptional educational background and admirable personal qualities allowed him to complete the course as an honor student, an achievement that filled him with pride. Recognizing his talent and dedication, he was chosen to remain as an instructor in the course, specifically assigned to the hematology section, until his honorable discharge in 1955.

One of the proudest moments in Harold’s military journey was captured in a photograph featuring Brigadier General James P. Cooney congratulating the honor students who completed two different advanced courses. Standing tall and distinguished, Harold represented the epitome of academic excellence and military professionalism. The General’s words of praise echoed throughout the halls, acknowledging Harold’s tireless efforts, outstanding academic performance, and exemplary conduct. It was a testament to his commitment to the highest traditions of the Army Medical Services.

Upon his return to civilian life, Harold redirected his focus toward theology, utilizing his passion for service in a different capacity. He completed his theology degree and seminary training, ultimately becoming a Seventh-day Adventist pastor instead of pursuing a career as a doctor. Furthering his education, he earned a Master’s in Public Health from Loma Linda University and proceeded to establish the Health Education Department at the Portland Seventh-day Adventist Hospital.

Through this department, Harold implemented various programs aimed at empowering individuals to embrace healthier lifestyles. These initiatives encompassed outpatient and residential smoking cessation, comprehensive health testing and screening, and education on the fundamental principles of optimal health. His unwavering commitment to promoting the well-being of others became a cornerstone of his life’s work.

Harold’s journey was not solely defined by his professional accomplishments. His family played an integral role in his story, with his beloved wife and four children providing endless love and support. The most unforgettable chapter of their lives together unfolded during their ten years of Christian Missionary Service in South America. They first ventured to the shores of Lake Titicaca in southern Peru, where they shared their compassion and faith. Later, in Medellin, Colombia, Harold took on the responsibility of training future pastors and Bible workers, leaving an indelible mark on the communities of Colombia and Venezuela.

Today, Harold resides in the independent living section of Russellville Park, where his presence and rich experiences continue to enrich the lives of those around him. His story, filled with dedication, resilience, and a profound commitment to service, is a true testament to the remarkable individuals who call Russellville Park home.

In celebrating Harold O. Burden’s military journey and the countless lives he has touched, we honor his unwavering principles, his extraordinary achievements, and the enduring legacy he leaves behind. Russellville Park proudly shines its Resident Spotlight on this veteran, offering our gratitude for his selfless service to our country and the impact he continues to make within our community.

We’d love for you to meet the amazing residents at Russellville Park! Schedule your private tour today and discover independent living, assisted living, and memory care at its best! 

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