With a lifetime of experience in the field of social work administration, Carol Hammarberg has been involved in adoption, foster care, and refugee services, including teenage foster care of unaccompanied youth from Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Cuba and Haiti and working with refugee families at Lutheran Children and Family Services. A change in direction brought her to KenCrest in 1990 to begin working in the development office.
During that time the Steeplechase bike ride was expanded from an early start organized by a group of Lutherans biking to Muhlenberg College. The purpose was to raise awareness and funds for the Lutheran agencies in the Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod.
“People came together to support Lutheran Charities and they would bring their friends and ride from church to church,” said Carol, who was involved in about 20 of the bike rides in one way or another. “It was a great way for the churches to become more aware of Lutheran Charities’ agencies and their mission. I just loved the bike ride!”
She was instrumental in spearheading at least 15 years of the annual event, recalls The Rev. Dr. Larry Smoose (ret.), longtime Steeplechase participant and planning committee member.
“Carol was really the person who took the event from a small congregational two-day event to the New Jersey Shore to a SEPA Synod (ELCA)-wide bike ride,” he said. “Carol worked very hard and tirelessly to make it a significant fundraising and awareness event for Lutheran Charities.”
After a brief hiatus following Carol’s retirement, the beloved bike event is being revived: The inaugural Community Day and 24th Bike Steeplechase will be held Saturday, Oct. 14, at Green Lane Park, at which she will be honored for her years of commitment.
In addition to her dedication to the Steeplechase events, Carol is a parent and foster parent, accomplished ceramic artist and instructor, and has traveled extensively. She has served on several nonprofit boards and community groups, and continues to be active at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, in Ardmore.