Veteran volunteer receives recognition

Frances Clark blows out the candles on a birthday cake during a recognition ceremony for the Richmond Centre of Disability founder.  - Jacqueline Langen
Frances Clark blows out the candles on a birthday cake during a recognition ceremony for the Richmond Centre of Disability founder.
— image credit: Jacqueline Langen

A woman referred to by her colleagues as “the face of volunteering” received some grateful recognition for dedicating six decades toward improving the lives of others.

Members of Richmond Centre for Disability and city officials hosted an honourary event for Frances Clark last Friday after she received the Prime Minister’s Volunteer Award for Lifelong Achievement earlier this month.

“You do these things because you want to see the difference and you enjoy the people that you work with,” Clark, 79,  said of volunteering.

The founder of Richmond Centre for Disability was quick to spread the credit around, expressing that there is a collective effort made by many volunteers that made the programs of the community successful.

“You don’t do things alone, you have to have people with you. If I didn’t have them at the time I gathered them with me,” she said. “But the bottom line is you always had people that came along, who wanted to work with you, who had the same goals, and we made it happen.”

Clark was born with the congenital bone disorder osteogenesis imperfecta, also known as brittle bone disease. She has suffered multiple fractures throughout her life, but has not let her disability deplete her drive to better the community.

“I commend you for serving your fellow Canadians, strengthening our community and promoting ability above disability. Your compassion and commitment exemplifies the Canadian spirit and sets an admirable example for all of us to follow,” said Richmond MP Alice Wong, who presented the Prime Minister’s Volunteer Award to Clark.

As one of two national award winners, Clark receives a medal and a $10,000 prize.

Clark, a longtime Richmond resident, founded the Richmond Centre for Disability 28 years ago. She was also involved in founding a federation of dog clubs to encourage responsible pet ownership.

Even after six decades volunteering, Clark is still driven to continue improving Richmond’s emergency services.

“There are still a number of things that I want to see accomplished in the community,” she said.


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