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

We Wai Kai and B.C. sign incremental Treaty Agreement, move a step closer to treaty

The We Wai Kai Nation and the Province of British Columbia have… Continue reading

B.C. salmon farm inspection deal reached with Indigenous people

Monitoring to determine if any Broughton region farms stay open

Compromise found on grocery store size in south Campbell River subdivision

Approved increase less than developer wanted, but will still allow for some flexibility

City of Campbell River looks to improve environmental protection during development

Changes to mapping environmentally sensitive areas and how permitting process works is under review

PHOTOS: Young protesters in B.C. and beyond demand climate change action

Many demonstaers were kids and teens who skipped school to take part

Walmart to quit selling e-cigarettes amid vaping backlash

U.S.’s largest retailer points to ‘growing’ complications in federal, state and local regulations

Former B.C. lifeguard gets house arrest for possession of child porn

Cees Vanderniet of Grand Forks will serve six months of house arrest, then two years’ probation

Crown alleges resentment of ex-wife drove Oak Bay father to kill his daughters

Patrick Weir alleged in his closing arguments that Andrew Berry is responsible for the deaths of his daughters

‘I’d do it again,’ says B.C. man who swam naked, drunk in Toronto shark tank

David Weaver, of Nelson, was drunk when he went to Ripley’s Aquarium in Toronto on Oct. 12 2018

How to react to Trudeau’s racist photos? With humility, B.C. prof says

‘We are now treating racism as a crime that you cannot recover from’

Victoria man spots online photo of his totem pole 11 years after it was stolen

Mark Trueman restored the pole himself before it was stolen off of his property in Duncan

VIDEO: Fire destroys Williams Lake strip club targeted by past arson attempts

Diamonds and Dust Entertainment Lounge destroyed by fire, as well as New World Tea and Coffee House

Trudeau seeks meeting with Singh to apologize for blackface, brownface photos

‘I will be apologizing to him personally as a racialized Canadian,’ Trudeau said Friday

Most Read