The list of Clark Root's volunteer activities seems endless. I caught up with him while he was working on the future chapel of the Beacon of Hope.
Root moved to Fort Dodge 30 years ago and was invited by a coworker to a meeting of the Sertoma Sundowners. Root joined the group and has been involved ever since, having made many close friends there.
"At that time, not knowing anybody, it gave me a way to get acquainted. It worked out real well," he said. "Once you get going on something like that it kind of branches out." Root is now involved in many organizations.
Clark Root enjoys riding his Harley-Davidson motorcycle.
Hearkening back to his roots as a Boy Scout, Root has served on the district board and in a couple of district level offices through the years. He also announces the sophomore Senior High School football games and helps with high school wrestling matches. "I was a wrestler in high school," he said. "I enjoy that. That's a lot of fun, just because I enjoy wrestling, and I like to be around the kids."
Seven years ago Root was asked to consider being a local responder for the Brushy Creek Chapter of the American Red Cross. He said yes and talked his wife Karen into the idea too. They are called to assist people during disasters such as storms, floods, and fires in the six county district.
Since its inception Root has been on the board for Shellabration, formed to bring concerts to Fort Dodge to help pay for renovations to the Olson Park Bandshell. He helps with planning and setup of the events.
About Clark Root
A native of Audubon, Clark Root, 58, worked 28 years for Iowa Commodities Ldt. and retired two years ago. Currently he is a part-time driver hauling bulk fertilizer for New Cooperative Inc. and is a part-time bus driver for St. Edmond School, taking students to special activities.
Root attributes his volunteer spirit to the example set by his parents. His parents, now 85 and 90 years old live in Arizona. His mother, 85, still delivers meals on wheels once a week.
His wife, Karen, 58, is retired also after having worked in a doctor's office.
He enjoys golf and riding his Harley Davidson, a retirement gift from his boss.
"Once in a while I get involved in something over at the church. I go to Trinity United Methodist."
That is how he got involved at the Beacon of Hope, a future shelter for homeless men. The shelter's main organizer Steve Roe is also a member of TUMC and he asked church members for their prayers and help. Many church members are now involved in the project, as well as several other churches and organizations Root said. The shelter's anticipated opening is October.
Root serves on the Stephen Ministry team at his church. TUMC pastor the Rev. Steve Peters said Stephen Ministers have 50 hours of training and visit people in their homes and in the hospital. Root finds the work very enjoyable and said he gets as much out of it as the people he cares for.
"Clark is our go to guy at Trinity United Methodist," said Peters. Root is always ready to help with a new project and he is a great motivator of other people. He and his wife Karen have a deep commitment and a deep faith, Peters said. The couple also sorts cloths for the needy at the Cloths Closet at First Baptist Church.
For two years Root has served on the Fort Dodge Parks Commission. "There was an opening and somebody asked if I'd be interested," he said. "I think we have great facilities," he said of local parks.
He has even done a little acting: a part in the Six on Six musical at Iowa Central Community college; and Cardiff by the Comedia Musica Players. "I played the fake Cardiff Giant, I had a couple of songs and lines," he said. Root has played four characters in the Oakland Cemetery Walk. This year he will be a guide.
"It seems like all service clubs and a lot of organizations are having a hard time getting volunteers," Root said. He encourages people to volunteer. "You get so much out of it because of the relationships you establish, the people you meet, and the things you learn. I think everybody should give back to the community somehow," he said. "Even if it is just a one time project."
Root said if he had not been asked he probably would not have gotten involved in so many things. "Don't be afraid to ask, and don't be afraid to say yes if you are asked (to volunteer)," he said.