BIBLE HILL – Young Molly Clark happily skates around on an outdoor rink in Bible Hill knowing someone special is watching out for her.
Eight-year-old Molly’s dad, Paul ‘Pony’ Clark, died a year ago due to heart-related issues. Pony was well known in Bible Hill for constant volunteerism, especially in recreation events, and often helped flood the outdoor rink at the Bible Hill Central Elementary School late at night.
Molly and her sister Emma, 6, attend the school and are thrilled that the outdoor rink will be named after their dad. A grand opening celebration of the Pony Clark Memorial Rink will take place on Friday at 1 p.m.
“I feel good because I feel like he’s part of me … watching over me,” said Molly as she and her sister enjoyed the 110 X 50 foot rink on Saturday afternoon.
Julee MacAfee was married to Pony and said her late husband would be thrilled to receive the honour.
“Pony volunteered at anything that had to be done and it was hard to get volunteers when it was really cold but he’d be flooding the rink when it was really cold at night. Jack Dale would be there in the day and Pony would go at midnight to 3 a.m.,” said MacAfee, who now lives in Earltown but was the village’s recreation director from 2000 to 2005.
“He would so appreciate this. Pony is part of the village. He’s still there … he’s right in the middle of it. The rink was a part of us and the school has been amazing with this. If it were anywhere else it wouldn’t mean quite as much.”
In addition to the naming of the rink, a sign will be placed on school property showcasing the rink. The school has received a $1,000 donation, thanks to MacAfee, which helped with the purchase of 10 helmets and 10 pairs of skates to be used by school children for free on the rink. A sticker will be placed on each helmet and skate in memory of Pony.
Bible Hill’s recreation director, Brendon Smithson, said the village is trying to match the donation and is pleased the rink has become more personalized with dedicating it to Pony’s memory.
“He was very well known,” said Smithson. “It’s good to recognize people who have done volunteer work and the village wants to provide more opportunities for people to be physically active.”
Kathy Fougere, principal of Bible Hill Central elementary, is encouraged by the partnership between the village and the school.
“It’s so valuable,” said Fougere. “And the rink was so meaningful to him and his family. It seemed to be the right thing to do.”
The grand opening celebration on Friday is open to everyone.