by Al Myers
Recently, Bill and Dolores Clark were awarded by the city of Columbia the Columbia Values Diversity Award. This is a great honor for Bill and Dolores, and a well earned award. In a recent column in the Columbia Daily Tribune by Janese Heavin, in which she writes about this prestigious award she said, “Bill Clark doesn’t necessarily set out to promote diversity when he writes his columns for the Tribune. No, Ol’ Clark just tells it like it is, even if that ruffles some feathers.” Her column can be read here. Mayor Darwin Hindman used Bill’s own words from his acceptance of the Peacemaker Award in 2004 to make the Values Diversity Award, “I have long followed the personal philosophy that conflict resolution must begin with communication. Once communication is achieved, only then can there be understanding. With understanding comes compromise and peaceful resolution. It works in sports officiating, in politics, in government, in business, in marriage, and in life.”
If there was a Values Diversity Award for weightlifting, Bill would be the first one to receive it. Bill broke the gender barrier when he first introduced women’s weightlifting. This was at a time when weightlifting was a MAN’S sport and the public opinion was that women shouldn’t be lifting weights. Bill was also very integral in bringing Masters weightlifting to the forefront. He promoted some of the first Master’s Weightlifting Meets at a time when most lifters thought the old guys should just give it up, as weightlifting should only be for the young, strong lifters. Bill Clark went against the grain, and in return, has given thousands of athletes lifting opportunities they might not have had. Bill Clark has always been ahead of the pack as a humanitarian, and is greatly deserving of this award.