Lifestyle

Clark spreads goodwill across city

From the time she was a small child, Dorothy Clark has been a giver – a do-gooder.

As a young girl, she remembers protecting a dog from teasing and her gift for goodwill grew.

“I came from a poor family and I was raised in the deep Depression,” Clark said. “I learned to get along with a little bit of nothing.”

It was during that time, Clark said she remembers being touched by someone’s kindness.

As she tells it, her family’s vehicle ran out of gas in the middle of Montana. She recalls a tanker truck coming along and supplying them with the fuel they needed to continue on their way. She said the driver swore them not to tell anyone because he could lose his job.

Around that same time, Clark remembers a neighbor who would give her family bread, lard and sugar. She started raising a garden to pay him back with vegetables.

“I always wanted to be nice to people,” she said. “I was always wanting to be kind to people.”

The visually-impaired 85-year-old continues to give.

A few years ago, Clark led an effort to raise thousands of dollars to purchase a thermal-imaging camera for the Enumclaw Fire Department.

She makes gladiolus bouquets from the more than 200 bulbs planted in her yard and gives them away. She’s been known to hand out roses, giving them to husbands and sons and telling them to pass them on to their wives and mothers and tell them they love them.

To thank the mail and garbage man for their hard work, she’s baked them cookies.

One of the moments of which she’s most proud, she said, is when she made the evening news for taking on the state Lotto system after discovering the machines weren’t printing the correct numbers.

She’s saved a few lives, including resuscitating a young man at a dance and helping pull another who was pinned under a truck after an accident.

Through the years, one of her greatest sources of pride is the scores of traffic signs she’s had moved or changed to make area roads and highways safer.

“I’ve done a lot of things,” Clark said. “I just do things to make people happy.”

She dropped out of school, but eventually caught up on classes at a business school. She met her husband and moved to Enumclaw in 1970. She started an answering service she eventually moved to Auburn. Dorothy’s Unique Answering Business saw a 23-year run there, while her other business, Dorothy’s Unique Resume Service, lasted 26 years.

“She’s truly an amazing woman,” Donna Elzenga, Enumclaw Senior Activity Center recreation coordinator said. “It’s amazing how much money she’s raised. She’s a role model for us younger folks. There is life after 60 and 70.”

This year, through the senior center, she is raising funds to support Soldier’s Angels, a program that supplies First Response Backpacks to wounded soldiers.

Each pack is $56 and includes a hooded sweatshirt, homemade blanket, toiletries and an international calling card.

Clark has already passed out 1,500 letters with return envelopes soliciting donations and surpassed her $1,000 goal by $1,000. She shies away from attention, but said she’s grateful for those who donate to the causes she supports.

Clark is down to her last 500 envelopes.

“If you see me on the street, ask me for an envelope,” she said.

Bundled in her scarf and mittens, she works her way around Enumclaw looking for donations. When her feet start to hurt, she said, thinking about the soldiers helps her continue.

“I just have to help those soldiers and I hope everyone else will feel that way too. I care.

“I want to help as many soldiers as I can,” she said. “I’m going to pass them out in January. This isn’t just for Christmas. It’s an ongoing thing.”

“A lot of seniors stay home,” Elzenga said. “I can’t say enough good things about her. She’s got a big heart.”

Anyone interested in supporting Clark’s latest cause can donate to Soldier’s Angels at www.soldiersangels.org or contact the senior center at seniorcenter@ci.enumclaw.wa.us or 360-825-4741.

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