Hal H. Crosswell, Jr., M.D. has been presented the Order of the Palmetto, South Carolina’s highest civilian honor. The award was presented to Dr. Crosswell by Governor Mark Sanford at a recent ceremony. The Order of the Palmetto is given in recognition of lifetime achievement and service to South Carolina.
An ophthalmologist with the Columbia Eye Clinic for more than 30 years, Dr. Crosswell is well-known for his kind, compassionate way of giving back not only to the Midlands community but also to other parts of the world. In 1968, Dr. Crosswell visited the small Caribbean island of Anguilla at the request of United Methodist Volunteers in Missions to provide eye care for the people there. This journey launched a life-long mission to provide eye and other medical care to those in need. In 1974, Dr. Crosswell, under the auspices of the United Methodist Volunteers in Mission, was instrumental in organizing a team of eye care doctors and specialists to travel to Jeremie, a small, isolated community in Haiti. While in Jeremie, Dr. Crosswell and his team performed eye surgeries and examinations for many Haitians who otherwise had no means for these services. Dr. Crosswell and his teams have continued to make annual trips to Jeremie. Over the years, considerable medical supplies and equipment have been donated as well as monetary contributions, which were instrumental in helping to construct a modern medical, dental and eye clinic with a modern operating room in Jeremie. Over his many years of service to Haiti, Dr. Crosswell became well-known to the Haitians not only as a medical doctor but also as a teacher to the Haitian ophthalmologists who would travel to Jeremie to learn new surgical techniques. Dr. Crosswell’s 1974 trip to Haiti had such a great impact on him, it has become his personal mission to continue this journey, which is now in its thirty-second year, with the exception of a few years in which there was political unrest in Haiti.
“Whether it’s sharing his time and talents with people here in the Midlands or with patients in remote areas of Haiti, Hal has consistently upheld the highest ideals of servant leadership,” Gov. Sanford said. “It’s an honor for me to give this award as one small way of thanking Hal for everything he does.”
Dr. Crosswell is also very active in the Midlands, having served for many years in the Methodist Church. He is a member of Shandon United Methodist Church, where he remains active with the United Methodist Volunteers in Mission and the Conference Board of Global Ministries. He has served as a member of the Board of Visitors at Columbia College. Dr. Crosswell has worked at the Columbia Eye Clinic, the largest ophthalmology practice in the Midlands and one of the largest in South Carolina, for more than 30 years.