Jack Clifford receives the Spirit of the WestAward Saturday evening at Betty Ehart Senior Center. Watch for more photos from the event. Photo by Maire O’Neill/losalamosreporter.com
BY MAIRE O’NEILL
Jack Clifford received the Spirit of the West Award Saturday evening at the Community Assets Awards annual gala at the Betty Ehart Senior Center. Some 60 other people also were recognized for working to make Los Alamos or the state a little better through their efforts.
The Spirit of the West Award is named after former Los Alamos County Councilor Jim West. The event was sponsored by Community Youth Ambitions (C’YA) and emceed by C’YA Director Bernadette Lauritzen.
The following was read by Lauritzen after she presented Clifford with the award”
“Jack has been an active volunteer at the White Rock Senior Center for over 22 years logging 8,350 hours as of 2/26/18.
On a weekly basis he supplies all of the treats for a snack/dessert buffet and hosts an evening get together at the center. Donations are graciously accepted for the treats and all of the proceeds are applied to purchase equipment for use at the center. With Jack’s support and the considerable donations collected over the years, the center has been able to purchase furniture, appliances, entertainment electronics, computers, and exercise equipment.
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.
Nominator – Anonymous
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 and all our past and present members. Jack’s work with the Laboratory Retiree Group is also reflected in his total hours recorded through RSVP of 6,589 in the past 18 years and 4 months. – Annie Bard, White Rock Senior Center Coordinator
These accounts were written by his friends of whom he has many:
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. Below is the semi-final text about Jack which was written by Karen Brandt on the occasion of Jack’s “Living Treasure” event. I decided to include it … just because. – Fran Talley
Writing about Jack in 50 words is impossible. This is what I have come up with. Feel free to correct punctuation, sentence structure, or whatever. Jack Clifford arrived in Los Alamos in 1949. He was born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts, 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 which later became known as the Los Alamos National Laboratory. His secondary career was spent as a bartender at several of the local watering holes. Not because it added to his income, but it allowed him to meet people, and like most bartenders, play the role of a would-be psychologist.
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, to his family as evidenced by his frequent trips to visit his daughters, and recently to Boston to celebrate his sister’s 90th birthday, but especially to his community. His service to the community is centered around the White Rock Senior Center, where he volunteers on a daily basis and is one of the reasons the Center is thriving. He takes the responsibility to provide decorations for holiday and birthday celebrations, besides assisting with fish fries, pot lucks etc. Every Thursday Night, when he’s in town, he shows up promptly at 5:00 PM to make sure there are plenty of “Goodies” for the attendees, mans the desk, and with his sense of humor entertains the crowd with tales of the past and it seems the laughter can be heard a block away.
Jack is a walking encyclopedia. Mention anyone who has lived in Los Alamos, and he can give you their history chapter and verse. He has all the local news before the Monitor or KRSN because of a band of “street people” – his words – who keep him informed on a daily basis. He makes a habit of filming construction projects from the ground-breaking to the final construction, then provides the contractor with a compilation of the various stages of construction.
At the entrance to White Rock is a huge rock which is painted to advertise celebrations of birthdays, weddings etc. The Rock painting changes frequently, but Jack is always there to film the change which he has been doing for years. His accumulation of these number in the thousands. This is just a small summary of what he does for people, and it’s little wonder he was honored as a Living Treasure . My close friendship with Jack made it possible for me to cancel my subscription to People Magazine. – By Bunn Ryan
Jack Clifford smiles as the audience gives him a standing ovation Saturday evening after he was presented with the Spirit of the West Award. Photo by Maire O’Neill/losalamosreporter.com