Volunteer extraordinaire Jack Clifford with Los Alamos Retirement & Senior Organization Executive Director Bernadette Lauritzen. Courtesy photo
By BERNADETTE LAURITZEN
Los Alamos Retirement & Senior Organization
My volunteer for the month is the White Rock Senior Center’s Jack Clifford.
Jack has been an active volunteer at the White Rock Senior Center for more than 22 years, logging 8,350 hours as of February 2018. That number grows on a weekly basis.
I found out about Jack when he was nominated for an award for another group I work with called, Champions of Youth Ambitions (C’YA). His nomination in December of last year listed a veritable plethora of good things. There were probably 50 or so others in the running for the grand award of the evening, called “The Spirit of the West Award”. The Spirit of the West was named for former Los Alamos County Councilor Jim West.
As I stood in line at the White Rock Smith’s one day, I think it was James that said, “Hey Mr. Clifford!” I said, “Are you Jack Clifford?” I introduced myself, knowing he was nominated for an award that weekend. He said he was Jack Clifford and would be at the awards banquet. I was ELATED, because I knew he would receive the big award that night.
Less than six months later, I lead the organization from where that nomination experience took place. A woman had happened upon the White Rock Senior Center, her nomination read in part, “One evening I visited the center for a brief meeting and was courteously greeted and welcomed by Jack. He is an extremely cordial and wonderful host. Instantly, I felt like I had a new friend.” That woman was Jackie Hurtle.
There were other words shared, here are just a few:
“On a weekly basis, he supplies all of the treats for a snack/dessert buffet and hosts an evening get together at the center. Jack Clifford is our ‘Sunshine Man’, Boss of the Week, leader and sponsor of the Thursday evening ‘Tall Tales’ and poker group, photo historian, and a holiday decorating expert. We love and cherish him for all the kind work that he does every day to benefit the White Rock Senior Center.” –WRSC Coordinator Annie Bard
“Jack, I believe, is truly an ‘old soul’. He is sort of the ultimate ‘gardener’ to the people and the town, which he so dearly loves. He nurtures, watches over, is consistent in ‘tending’ to us all. Faith, family, friends and ‘fotography’ are probably the four ‘F’s’ that best describe him.” –Fran Talley
My favorite words were from Bun Ryan used to describe him for a Los Alamos Living Treasures Award nomination. A synopsis of the entire statement is below:
“He was born and raised in Boston, Mass. and learned early in life to eliminate the letter ‘r’ from the alphabet which resulted in his Boston Accent. He spent his career as a professional photographer with the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory. Jack’s whole life has been one of service, service to God, to his Country by taking part in the occupation of Germany after World War II. My close friendship with Jack made it possible for me to cancel my subscription to People magazine.” –Bun Ryan
You see, it isn’t often that a Living Treasure, is nominated for a Community Asset Award. I have the pleasure of being in Jack’s company from time to time, and see how he is the kind of volunteer who brings meaning to life. Remember you only need to be 50 years old to join. I think you should strike while the iron is hot!