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

Campbell River man in medically-induced coma after serious dirt bike incident

GoFundMe campaign raised more than $3,000 by Monday afternoon

Campbell River firefighters respond to four structure fires in a week

North Campbell River fire deemed ‘suspicious’

Campbell River’s Greenway Loop event attracts hundreds of red-clad supporters

More than 100 people showed up to ride or walk the Greenway Loop or part of it

Project Watershed plants eelgrass off of Miracle Beach Park

If you were at Miracle Beach Park over the weekend, you may… Continue reading

Astronaut David Saint-Jacques returns to Earth, sets Canadian space record

Native of Saint-Lambert, Que., set a record for longest single spaceflight by a Canadian at 204 days

The world’s Indigenous speakers gather in B.C.’s capital to revitalize languages

Organizers estimate about 1,000 delegates from 20 countries will be at the conference

Join talks on international treaty: B.C. First Nations mark ‘historic moment’

Representatives of the Ktunaxa, Syilx/Okanagan and Secwepemc Nations participated

Companies need clearer rules on workplace relationships, study suggests

One-third of Canadians have been in love at work, and half say no policy on the matter exists

WITH VIDEO: Two endangered marmots released on Vancouver Island

With three new pups born in May, two more Vancouver Island Marmots… Continue reading

‘Text neck’ causing bone spurs to grow from millennials’ skulls, researchers say

Technology use from early childhood causing abnormal bone growths in 41 per cent of young adults

Surrey RCMP raises Pride flag amid din of protesters

There were about 30 protesters on either side, and 20 Mounties doing crowd control

B.C. teen killed by fallen tree on field trip remembered as hero

13-year-old Tai Caverhill was the first to spot the tree falling and warned his friends

Should B.C. get rid of Daylight Saving Time?

The province wants to know, as state governments down south make the move

Most Read