Donald Clark named Chamber’s Citizen of the Year

In recognition of eight years of giving back to the community that has given to him, Donald Clark has been named the Ellsworth Area Chamber of Commerce’s Citizen of the Year. He will be honored at the chamber’s annual meeting on May 18.

ELLSWORTH — Donald Clark has been named the Ellsworth Area Chamber of Commerce’s Citizen of the Year.

A native of Hancock County who has spent the better part of the past eight years giving back to a community that has given to him, Clark will be honored in May.

Raised in Lamoine, Clark enlisted in the Navy at age 17. He then came back to Maine as a self-proclaimed “Jack of All Trades.”

He has cooked and run commercial kitchens, catered weddings and parties, as well as worked for several area cable companies, most recently with Time Warner.

Twenty years ago, one of his daughters was very ill and the local community responded with support. This gave him the desire to return those good deeds to others who were in need.

For the past seven years, Clark and his wife, Mona, have worked with the Marines in their Toys for Tots drive in July. Donald’s collections are then returned back to Hancock County children for Christmas. He and his wife then decided to organize a Secret Santa program for needy families, providing a full Christmas, including the meal, delivered by a local “Santa Claus.”

Every year at least five local families have been surprised to receive this Christmas Day gift.

Clark has been the organizer and head chef for the Elks Club’s free community Thanksgiving meal. Over 200 are served yearly by this traditional dinner. Shut-ins are provided with home delivery of the Thanksgiving treats and those who need rides are picked up by a bus to get them to the dinner.

Two years ago, he started putting together Christmas food baskets, including a turkey to take to needy families. Last year, 75 families were fed a great meal.

Clark work in the community doesn’t stop with just the holidays. If he hears about a family battling cancer or some life-threatening disease, a family burned out of their home or a family dealing with a sudden disaster, he is there organizing benefit suppers, auctions, even a benefit motorcycle ride.

Clark says none of his work would be possible without the assistance of the greater Ellsworth businesses, the Elks Club and the community at large. The community has noticed as well.

Clark’s nominations for Citizen of the Year stated “no one deserves this recognition more.”

Clark has been married to his wife, Mona, for 35 years. They have two daughters, Heather and Lisa, and a grandson, Kameron.

Clark retired from Time Warner in November last year after being diagnosed with cancer. Though in treatment, Clark continues his life’s passion of giving to others. When asked what his favorite project is, he replied, “Every one.”

Clark will be honored at the chamber’s annual meeting on May 18 at the Acadia Event Center in Trenton.