by Melissa LaScaleia
Will Parker worked as a lawyer under several prominent attorneys in South Carolina before establishing his own law firm, Will Parker, LLC in December 2017. The firm primarily serves clients in personal injury and wrongful death cases. Will’s life experiences inspired him to pursue these branches of law, as he has been the victim of an accident where the driver didn’t have adequate insurance, and has also felt the pain of losing a loved one to a reckless accident.
“I’m coming from a different and broader perspective which gives me a deeper level of empathy and understanding of how to handle the variety of cases I see,” Will says. “Moreover, personal injury claims often seem like they don’t receive the respect that they deserve. In the way I treat my clients, I aim to change that.”
Many years ago, Will struggled with opiate addiction, and today hopes to use whatever platform he has to help others in similar situations.
“The way you practice law is going to be an extension of who you are and the experiences you’ve had in your life,” Will says. “I can relate to and understand what those clients are going through, and I can get them in touch with people who can help them make better decisions. I try to step in when I think I can help redirect someone’s path and help them receive a second chance to get their life back on track. The way I speak to a judge and jury is coming from that place of authenticity, of having been at one time in my life, on the other side.”
When Will began his practice, he had one part-time person assisting him with his practice; today, he has six full-time staff members, including new attorney, Greg Sloan. Greg has been practicing law for the past 25 years, and has brought over 60 trials to verdict. His practice is located in a new 1,500 square foot space in Murrells Inlet, which his wife, Erin, designed. The firm has a heavy case load and recovers millions of dollars for clients each year.
“Through growing and getting bigger as a firm, we’ve been able to help more people,” Will says. “And that’s the best part of what I do and why I do what I do. I’m always looking for opportunities to serve the community based on my experiences.”
Will recently began serving on the board of Sonshine Recovery Ministries, a local area non-profit 501(c)(3). It was founded by husband and wife team Tim Carter and Lissa Davis in 2019.
Tim built himself a multi-million dollar heating and air conditioning business in North Carolina. At the same time, he was struggling with a cocaine addiction. One night, an overdose left him on the brink of death, and he prayed that if his life was spared, he’d devote the rest of it to serving God. He lived; and quite literally walked away from his former life.
“I came to Myrtle Beach and checked into recovery with two shirts, two pairs of pants, and the shoes on my feet, and that was it,” he says.
Four months into the recovery program, the owner and director unceremoniously left, and Tim had to quickly step up to the helm to salvage the program and everyone’s home.
“I had to find a 501(c)(3) in Myrtle Beach to take over the program and legitimize it so we didn’t get shut down,” he says. “I raised money to pay off the property so people didn’t get evicted because we were severely overdue on rent. And I took over as house manager. I was able to accomplish all of this successfully because of my business background.”
At the same time that he was sorting out the business and legality aspects of the recovery program, Tim sought to revamp the structure and operations as well.
“I noticed that the parameters around the recovery house weren’t realistic, viable, or sustainable and there was no accountability,” he says. “Basically it was a place to stay; and the house manager would send you to one meeting a day if he thought you were doing drugs. That’s not recovery.”
Tim and Lissa met while Tim was working on his plan for revitalizing the recovery program. The two shared a common vision, and decided to branch out on their own and start their own non-profit in keeping with their values. Along the way, Tim became a pastor, and Sonshine Recovery Ministries, a faith-based non-profit recovery program, was born. They have a recovery home that houses ten men in Myrtle Beach, and provides them with housing, food, and educational classes to help them start a new life.
“I’ve been there and I understand the struggle,” Tim says. “And I know too, that addiction doesn’t discriminate. I just want to use my experience to help others.”
“Our motto is: ‘No addict left behind,’” he adds. “And it’s our mission too. We will help anyone who is willing to help themselves. We are here to give them a hand up not a hand out.”
Tim and Lissa opened an accompanying thrift store so program participants could get clothing and supplies at no cost. They also outfitted the entire recovery house with furniture and items from the store.
“The thrift store exists to serve the needs of the community,” Tim says. “If someone has a home fire and all their belongings were destroyed, or survived a hurricane or other natural disaster— whatever it is, we’re here to help.”
In the past 18 months since they’ve been open, the group has celebrated some success stories.
“One of the guys who was living on the street went through the home for a year and got his credentialing, and is now a pastor,” Tim says. “He will now be overseeing the home. Work ethic is a big part of what we teach and promote.”
“Will has been a big asset to us,” Tim adds. “I was looking for a lawyer in recovery to serve on our board to make sure that every decision we make that deals with another person’s life is legal and without liability.”
“I try to be as real and as down to earth with my clients as I can so they understand who I am, and if they want me to represent them,” Will says. “I’m branding something different from other firms. The priorities in my life are serving God, family, and community. Those values drive me, and from honoring them, I’ve seen incredible results, and believe I’ve been blessed.”
Tim and Lissa are getting ready to purchase an additional 8 bedroom, 4 bathroom house for their recovery program in Lake City, SC. In four days, they have raised $17,000 of the $27,500 that they need for the closing. The additional home will house men in recovery, freeing up the current one in Myrtle Beach to support women who are in dangerous situations and need treatment.
“I felt like there was a reason I met Tim,” Will says. “In his work, he will go throughout Myrtle Beach and literally take people off the street. That’s tough work to be involved with.”