Volunteer Spotlight ~ See you around the bend, RKie

Volunteer Spotlight ~ See you around the bend, RKie

There are some people you meet whose enthusiasm for life and their community is infectious. Their glass is always half full, their days always good. They show up bright and early, and full of energy.  They are always happy to see you, and you them. Roger Kingsland Clark, known as RKie to all who knew him, was such a person.

RKie called himself a Silver River Rat.  For those not  familiar with river guide lingo, “river rat” is a term of affection for river guides. He took his experience on the river as a point of pride. He was planning another Grand Canyon rafting trip this summer. He laughingly added the silver epithet for his gray hair.

RKie had a deep love for the New River.  It held a special place in his heart.  And, by extension, for the New River Conservancy.  Elizabeth Underwood, our Executive Director, says “He loved maps.  He would bring me maps from other rivers and had lots of dreams of making a map of the New.” She continues “He had an affection for being a paddler. Not only would he show up early to help set up for  ‘Splash for Cash,’  he would also run safety in the back of the pack, in the sweep.” Another river guide term, “sweep” is the very back of the pack in a large group on the river, and the last one to come off the river.  It’s a safety check, so no one gets left on the river.

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RKie paddling the New near Boone. Photo by Eric Marland.

RKie also helped move New River Conservancy out of our old office in West Jefferson, North Carolina, to our new one around the corner.  Underwood says “He was out in the heat driving his own truck back and forth to our new office and the storage unit.” He was pretty much at any event, and not just for the Conservancy, that needed volunteers.

One of the last things RKie did for New River Conservancy was to make a gift of Motorola stock.  Underwood remembers “He was so sweet.  He told me the story of the stock that belonged to his late wife of 39 years, Eddie [Edna] and when they got married it became theirs together. They had kept it all this time.  The stock had sentimental value to RKie and he wanted it to go to New River Conservancy.”

He will be missed by all of us at NRC.