Faces in the Crowd: Herb Cleveland
It’s safe to say that Pastor Herb Cleveland has never meet a stranger. His exuberant personality is felt when he enters a room. He has served as a Chaplain and much more for the people of South Dakota and beyond.
RAPID CITY, S.D. — After serving in the Army, Herb felt the calling to become an ordained Lutheran Pastor. Herb and his wife served many families of the Homestake Mine in the Lead/ Deadwood area before moving onto Fort Meade. There, Herb tapped into his own military experience to build up programs promoting healing.
Herb says that many soldiers had inner conflicts to face — growing up with Christian morals and then having to go on the battlefield and shoot to kill.
Herb says, “Right there they have the basis for a lot of confusion in the mind and the soul. Plus you have the experience of when you see blood and you see somebody laying there bleeding to death — you remember it.”
Herb was then chosen to work in Washington D.C. as Deputy Chief in the Chief of Chaplains Office. He worked to encourage all faiths, minorities and women to serve in the clergy. He was also appointed by President Reagan as the first Lutheran and South Dakotan as Chief of Chaplains.
He fondly remembers the many services he took part in, like the prayers at the Rose Garden and before dinners in the White House. Through all of his experiences, Herb says he has learned that we are more alike than we are different.
“I think that is usually the goal of every administration to have life, liberty and pursuit of happiness- —the general welfare of people. Those are or underline philosophies that are passed down to us from the constitutional fathers to today.”
At 88 years old, Herb likes to swim and hike and just be in nature. One of his philosophies in life is don’t turn down the opportunity when it is presented.
“If you say yes more often to opportunities, you learn more, you have more experiences and I just think you have a richer life. And it may be the avenue to an even better ability to serve.”
Through all his accomplishments, good deeds and dignitary roles — Herb says his greatest accomplishment is raising a family with his wife Connie of 65 years.