The death of a neighbor changed Mark King's life.

The death of a neighbor changed Mark King's life.

The Dublin resident, heartbroken by the death of Christine Wilson, composed a CD in her honor and began raising money for the foundation that was created in the woman's memory.

Those efforts have earned King a Columbus Rotary Service Above Self Award, even though he is not a member of the organization.

King was one of four honorees at a luncheon last week. Rotary executive director Scott Brown said 27 people were nominated for the award.

"(Mark King) does this project called Christine's Christmas Concert," Brown said. "It all flows through the Christine Wilson Foundation. He started the concert in 2003 and it was so well received he's done it every year since."

King, a radiologist at Ohio State University Medical Center, has raised more than $100,000 for the Christine Wilson Foundation.

King said he didn't know what to expect when he recorded a CD in honor of Wilson, who was killed in a house fire near the Ohio State University campus on April 13, 2003.

"I've been a musician since I was 5 (years old) and I felt I had inspiration to do the recording, but I didn't know what to do with it," King said.

So King made a Christmas CD in honor of the 19-year-old OSU sophomore who loved the holiday.

"I felt I might make more money (for the foundation) with a CD than I could possibly write a check for. I wanted to get out the story of how Christine affected my life," he said.

King sold 2,000 CDs and started the Christmas concert in Wilson's honor.

"Organizing the concert is a lot of work, but it feels like a reflex. I feel like I'm driven by a power greater than myself," King said. "For me to sit back and watch all of this unfold is the most satisfying thing I've ever done."

King said "the most gratifying thing" is seeing a spark in others when they become inspired by his lost neighbor.

The Service Above Self award is given to Columbus-area residents who change the community for the better through service. Each winner is awarded a $1,000 check that is donated to the charity of their choice.

King's donation went to the Christine Wilson Foundation.

Along with King, Yvonne Mattison-Pardon of Pickerington, Randy Schoedinger of Columbus and Gloria Vasquez of Reynoldsburg were given the award.

jnoblit@thisweeknews.com