Rory Clark tends to the garden beds outside the Salvation Army Lighthouse Centre every day.

Campbell River man pays it forward

While homeless, Rory Clark was well-looked after by the Salvation Army. Now that's back on his feet, he is paying the organization back for its generosity.

After falling on hard times, and running out of money, a former Campbell River logger turned to the Salvation Army for support. Now back on his feet, he’s repaying the organization for its kindness.

Rory Clark had been a logger for 32 years when he hurt his back and was out of work.

“I had a lack of money and I fell into a system of suffering – my father also passed away,” Clark says. He ended up homeless and stayed at the Salvation Army shelter and used the soup kitchen for meals.

“I didn’t think I would have to go to the Salvation Army to sleep or eat and I really appreciate what they did for me,” Clark says. “Everyone always thinks ‘that won’t happen to me’ and I thought it wouldn’t happen to me, but it did.”

Clark says now he’s “on the straight and narrow” and he shares a place with his son.

He still stops by the soup kitchen at the Salvation Army Lighthouse Centre and one day, while talking to a volunteer, he asked if there was any work that needed to be done.

“With all the stuff they’ve done for me, I wanted to give back,” Clark says.

“So I come here and pick up garbage around here,” he says as he points out the clean sidewalks around the Lighthouse Centre and Rexall-North Island Pharmacy beside JJ’s Pub.

“I hope if I do, others will too and make it nice around here.”

Clark has certainly done his part to make the Cedar Street area nice. Over the past three months, he has pulled weeds that grow along the cracks in the sidewalks and in the parking lot behind the pharmacy. He has also yanked out the weeds and towering grass from the flower beds surrounding the Lighthouse Centre and Rexall.

And he has pruned the bushes and small trees that were growing in the garden beds, he says as he points out a neatly trimmed tree that used to spill out onto the sidewalk.

“I got eight bags of trimming off that one tree, which is now a shrub,” Clark says proudly.

Alongside the bushes and shrubs in the garden beds are colourful pink, purple and yellow flowers that Clark planted himself.

The cost of the flowers, soil, rakes, shovels and other tools he uses all came out of his own pocket.

Clark figures he has spent about $200 but he has no plans of stopping.

The green thumb, who tends to the area every day, wants to put in a memorial garden just outside the Lighthouse Centre.

The recent death of a close friend inspired him to design an area where people can memorialize a loved one, similar to what is already in place at Rotary Park. Clark already has permission to put in a plaque for his friend and hope others get the same opportunity. Clark, who receives no compensation for his work, figures his new hobby will stick.

“I started in front of the soup kitchen, but I realized the rest is a mess,” he says. “I keep pulling out weeds but they keep coming back.

It’s a never-ending job.”

Still he says it’s rewarding when someone comes by, follow his example, and picks up trash.

Just Posted

Eddy reflects on her first Campbell River school trustee campaign

‘I knew that SOGI would be an issue, but I didn’t realize that it would be the only issue’

2018 municipal election: Few surprises on Vancouver Island

16 incumbent mayors will continue in their positions for four more years

Mayoral results from across B.C.

Voters in 162 municipalities in B.C. set to elect mayor, council, school board and more

Every vote counts: 10 tightest races in B.C.’s municipal elections

Peachland saw their election decided by just one vote

Cam Levins sets new Canadian marathon record at Toronto Waterfront Marathon

The 29-year-old from Black Creek, B.C., ran it in two hours nine minutes 25 seconds

Tommy Chong says cannabis legalization makes him proud to be a Canadian

Legendary marijuana advocate and comedian celebrates cultural milestone at Kelowna event

B.C. Youtuber to seal himself ‘in a jar’ to demonstrate impacts of climate change

Kurtis Baute wants to see how long he can last in a 1,000 cubic foot, air-tight greenhouse

One of Taiwan’s fastest trains derails, killing at least 18

The train was carrying more than 360 people

Scheer marks one-year countdown to federal election with campaign-style speech

Conservative Leader insists that it will be Justin Trudeau who ‘makes it personal’

Canada Post union announces rotating strikes in four Canadian cities

Mail will still be delivered but it will be delayed

B.C. VIEWS: Residents have had enough of catering to squatters

Media myth of homeless victims offends those who know better

B.C. Liberals’ hopes high as Nanaimo by-election approaches

Historically safe NDP seat vacated by long-time MLA Leonard Krog

Leaving B.C.’s electoral reform to a referendum is ‘ridiculous’: professor

B.C. voters getting ballots in the mail on proposal to change electoral system

Canada condemns killing of journalist in Saudi Arabia consulate in Turkey

The Saudi government claimed Jamal Khashoggi was killed in a ‘fistfight’

Most Read