Clark sees caring for others as her duty

By DAISY WASHINGTON / Community Columnist

Mary “Molly” Clark would agree with Actress Audrey Hepburn who is quoted as having said: “As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands — one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.”

Clark

She became a member of the Kiwanis Club of Birmingham in 2000. Founded in 1917, it is the largest boasting a membership of over 550. Children of all ages are at the heart of service projects for the club from reading to Head Start students to sponsoring Key Clubs and Circle K around the metro area.

In 2005, Mary joined the Helena branch. She prefers to stay in the background through her involvement in community action and community events.

“I particularly enjoyed volunteering with the Reading is Fundamental program where I worked with the north Birmingham Head Start. I really like reading to the students,” she recalled.

Molly serves others through the gift of caregiving; having provided transportation, nursing and home visitation. When she resided in North Carolina, Molly established Rowland Company in Salisbury, N.C.

“The issue of hospice care needed to be addressed in that area,” said 77-year-old Clark.

The Home Health Agency, which is still in operation today, was the first to embrace the hospice movement. It was the hospice movement that led Mary to thinking about a role in chaplaincy.

Mary is involved in Helena Cumberland Presbyterian Church. She has been a member of Presbytery of Sheppards.

“I volunteer because it’s my duty to care about those around me,” Mary said.

The Cumberland Church provides “vet bags,” which contain food items that will last a day and a half. The bags are prepared and distributed to homeless veterans. The church also assists the community through their “pandemic blessing box.” Members of the congregation donate food items and money to purchase items. The items are then placed in a box and left at the front of the church for people in the community to stop by and take whatever they need from the box.

Mary was born in Decatur, Georgia. She spent a brief time working as a registered nurse and decided to become a chaplain. She earned her B.A. degree in religion in 1993, in September of 1993 she started in Seminary and graduated in 1996. She entered clinical pastoral education at the University of Alabama to become a hospital chaplain and enjoyed a rewarding 10-year career as a full-time chaplain there.

“You sense needs of individuals through the practice of being with people through empathy,” she said.

Mary has been married to her husband, Colquitt, for the past 53 years. The couple has two children and one grandchild.