Finding Our Community’s Future Leaders
Instances like this, of veterans needing support, are what drives Clark every day and are the reason for his founding of the Polk County Veterans Council. With Clark’s help, our local veterans receive assistance by the community for the community.
Plus, the presence of the organization gives those interested in connecting with and supporting our country’s veterans an outlet to do so. Volunteers and advocates can help our communities veterans by aiding in job searches, working with local businesses, providing health benefits and VA advice and support, and more.
“It’s a way of making Polk County a Veteran-friendly community,” Clark says. “And I’ll say this: I don’t know of another place that we could do some of the things we are able to do. I don’t think you could get this in Tampa, I don’t think you could get this in Orlando. In Lakeland, you can get your hands around things,. You can go to the City Commission in Lakeland, Winter Haven, Bartow, and say, ‘Here are some things that we could use some help on,’ or ‘Here are some things that would be helpful to have.’”
And remembering and supporting our veterans isn’t the only goal Clark aims to achieve. He is thoroughly engaged in turning young citizens and leaders in our city. Clark sits on the Academy Advisory Board for a high school in Bartow and assists in securing leadership training for students to prepare them to be future leaders in our community.
In this same vein, Clark also serves as Chair for Dennis Ross’ Service Academy Advisory Board, a board comprised of former officers, enlisted men and woman, and civilians to assist deserving young constituents who are seeking appointment to a United States Service Academy.
“Forty years ago if you would have asked me what a guy my age was doing, I would have quickly answered: ‘He’s retired!’,” Clark said. “Not me, now. I find that what I’m doing for the community is just for a way to help. All I’m trying to do is find a way for that to happen.”
For each organization Clark works with, for every Warrior Walk or Flight to Honor event, monument built, parade organized, for every young student Clark helps mold into a future leader, and for every veteran that is supported and helped up and ushered into a fulfilling life after service, our community has much to be grateful for. He’s pushed our community to be better. He’s pushed us to honor and support the men and women that have served our country in a way that’s meaningful, valuable, and never-ending.
That simple quote from Tocqueville’s book written so long ago perfectly captures Clark’s spirit and the courage, drive, vision, and selflessness of all of our CityMakers.
“There’s a spirit of independence in the American people. They don’t just wait around. If there was something needing to be done, they would do it.”