Gary Clark- Lakeland, Florida
Served in the United States Air Force from 1967 until 1993, retiring as a Colonel. Mr. Clark’s service to this nation and state have continued with his assistance in helping Gold Star Families to his efforts to establish a “Flight to Honor” which flies veterans from Lakeland Linder Airport to Washington, D.C. Mr. Clark established the Pol County Veterans Council which has acted as a nexus for the veterans organizations and actives throughout Polk County for the past 20 years.
Gary Clark's commitment to veterans is dramatically evidenced by the sheer number and breadth of the below list of his past and current membership in organizations:
• Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) Member of Board of Directors and Chairman, Investment Committee
• Imperial Polk County Chapter MOAA, President
• Air Force Association member
• Sun & Fun, Veterans Plaza Chairman
• American Legion Post 4 member
• Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 1040
• Detroit Tigers Spring Training Veteran & JROTC Color Guard Coordinator
• Lakeland Rotary Club, Military Affairs Chairman
• Flight to Honor Polk, Chairman
• James A Haley VA Hospital Advisory Board
• 10th Circuit Court Veteran Behavioral Court Coordinator
• Polk County Veterans Council, Chairman
• Congressman Ross Spano's Service Academy Nomination Committee
• Congressman Ross Spano's Veterans Advisory Committee
• Florida Veterans Foundation, Vice Chairman, Board Member and District Director
Mr. Clark has been instrumental in forging a strong partnership with the Polk County School Board in its administration of 13 JROTC units. These units, representing the Air Force, Army, Navy, and Marine Corps, routinely participate in community events, from Color Guards to parades. He organizes the annual JROTC Banquet where awards and scholarships are given to deserving cadets. The result has been a dramatic increase in awareness of what these young men and women mean to our community. Passionate about education, Gary arranges for veterans to speak to classes about this country's military history, coordinating directly with school administrators and principals.
He has served as the Chairman for our local Congressional District's Service Academy Selection Board, appointed to this post by the last three men elected to Congress from this district. This board process has resulted in a great number of our best and brightest students given the opportunity to serve our nation as commissioned officers. Thanks to Gary's leadership, Florida's 15th Congressional District has produced a number of West Point, US Naval Academy, US Air Force Academy, and Merchant Marine Academy graduates.