Charlie Clark, 76, of Minot is usually in constant motion.

But when he broke his hip in March, the Korean War veteran’s confidence was zapped.  It was now harder for him to tackle the stairs going in and out of his mobile home he shares with his wife, Jeannine.

Since his mobility and eyesight had been previously diminished by diabetes, he no longer drove, but used a power scooter to get into Auburn and make trips to Walmart.

Now that he walked with a walker, it was even harder to get to his garage to access his scooter. 

So his grandson, Matt Theriault, and his former son-in-law, Pete Theriault, decided to give back to the man who gave them so much in their lives. They decided to build a ramp for Clark.

“He’s a constant giver,” said Matt, 23, mastermind behind the ramp. “It actually means a lot to give back to him for all of his years of dedication to me as a kid. And it’s nice to give him something he didn’t ask for nor expect.”

But it’s not just his family that Clark helps out.

“If he knew there was someone in the park that needed help, he would give anything to help,” Matt said. “If it was as small as returning $20 worth of bottles to help, he would.”

Since finding the funds to build the ramp had been difficult, Matt and Pete, both members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1603 Men’s Auxiliary, decided to propose the project to the VFW and see if they would help out.

They did.

The Men’s Auxiliary would provide the labor, and The Riders, a motorcycle group at the post, along with money from the post’s general fund, would provide the capital for the more than $1,000 in lumber required.

This past weekend, Matt, Pete, Rick MacKenzie, another member of the Men’s Auxiliary, and Clark’s brother, Bob, started the ramp and rehabbed an existing deck.

“I’ll tell you, it’s really a wonderful thing,” Clark said from inside his home Friday. “I didn’t expect it. It really surprised me.”

A patriot to the end, Clark is proud of his many years in the service. He spent two years in the Army, six years in the Marine Corps, and eight years in the Army Reserve.

“I don’t regret it one bit,” he said of his military service. “It was the best experience I’ve ever had, and I think everyone should experience it. I wanted to make it 20 years in the Army Reserve, but I didn’t. They discharged me because of my bad heart.”

Clark is proud of current service members and makes sure to support them, the VFW, the American Veterans, the American Legion, and the Disabled American Veterans.

“You’ve got to look out for family and flag,” he said.

And because of his years of dedication to his family and to his flag, he is now being looked after.


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