CITIZEN OF THE MONTH – SELECTED BY COUNCIL MEMBER DON RAMSEY: Council Member Don Ramsey presented the Citizen of the Month for July:
Council Member Ramsey advised that Mrs. Clark was born and raised in Marlboro County, South Carolina. She attended the public school system in Bennettsville, South Carolina and graduated from St. Andrews College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Religious Education. Mrs. Clark is married to former to former Mayor and City Council Member Everette Clark and they have two sons, Ansel and Todd, and four grandchildren.
Council Member Ramsey reported that Nancy and Everette moved to Marion in 1963 and, on August 15, of that year Mrs. Clark began her career as a Social Worker with what was then called the Public Welfare Department, which later became the McDowell County Department of Social Services. Mrs. Clark had a distinguished career at DSS, retiring after 39 years of service. Council Member Ramsey stated that Mrs. Clark’s work put her in a unique position that allowed her to be aware of the needs of all families in McDowell County. At DSS, Mrs. Clark found her calling where she could bring about change and truly help others.
Council Member Ramsey said that Mrs. Clark had the leadership skills to bring together a dedicated staff, research sources of revenue through federal and state grants and to implement programs that would benefit all of the citizens of the county. Mrs. Clark does not just look around and notice things that need attention. She takes action. Council Member Ramsey stated that most people probably notice the same things that Mrs. Clark does, think that someone should take care of the problem and it ends there. Not Mrs. Clark, she sees these type of needs and sees them through. Before there were day trips for senior citizens, there was Mrs. Clark. Before the Meals on Wheels Program began delivering throughout the county, there was Mrs. Clark. She and others saw the need and teamed with area churches to provide meals to those in need.
Before all children and senior adults received gifts for Christmas, there was Mrs. Clark. Council Member Ramsey advised that, in 1983, Mrs. Clark organized Project Christmas, which to this day still provides gifts, clothing and food during the Christmas season. Before there was a Senior Citizens Center for local citizens to gather, fellowship and have a meal, there was Mrs. Clark. She and other individuals provided a monthly meeting place for seniors to get together and have programs. It was known as the Senior Citizens Club.
Council Member Ramsey reported that, as the needs of seniors continued to increase, Mrs. Clark and other likeminded folks formed the McDowell County Council on Aging to identify the needs of the aging population. The Council on Aging was sanctioned by the County Commissioners and was the beginning of the idea of the Meals on Wheels program and the need for a Senior Citizens Center.
Council Member Ramsey stated that Mrs. Clark’s enthusiasm gave everyone what was needed most, and that was leadership. She took ideas from a dream to a reality, the reality of a fine Senior Center that the public will enjoy for generations to come. When it came to creating a Senior Center, Mrs. Clark saw opportunity where everyone else saw problems. She didn’t say, “Let someone else do it.” She said, “I’ll take that on\".
Council Member Ramsey said that Mrs. Clark worked tirelessly to raise awareness and funds to build the first Senior Center on Crawford Street. The property was owned by the City of Marion and the City Council voted to donate the property for the Center.
Council Member Ramsey advised that he would be remiss if he did not acknowledge Mrs. Clark’s unwavering support and dedication to her husband Everette and for standing by him over the 45 years of service he gave to the City of Marion as Mayor and Council Member.
Along with her life work of helping others, Mrs. Clark also served on various local and state committees, including the North Carolina Senior Tar Heel Legislature as a McDowell County Delegate and serving as Chairperson of the Election and Credentials Committee. Mrs. Clark also served on the Isothermal Region Planning and Development Commission, the Aging Advisory Board, the McDowell County Senior Center Focal Point Board and the City of Marion Tree Board. Mrs. Clark continues her service to others as an active member of First Baptist Church of Marion where she is a Deacon and past Chairperson of the Saint’s Alive Senior Adult Committee.
Council Member Ramsey thanked Mrs. Clark for being a person who makes things happen, for having the vision of the future and the courage to bring great ideas and programs that will serve McDowell County for years to come.
Mayor Little, Council Members, family and dozens of friends all shared kind words about Mrs. Clark and congratulated her on being selected as Citizen of the Month.