Allan Clark has never questioned the importance of hard work and effort. Allan and his seven siblings grew up in southern California on his single mother’s salary. He recalls patching his shoes with playing cards and duct tape when money was tight.

Never taking things for granted, Allan began working full-time at a construction company driving forklifts and was quickly promoted to yard manager due to his hard work and diligence. At 19 years old, Allan saved up enough money to purchase his first house, a very counter-cultural act for a California teenager in the 70s.

Growing up with a distant father, Allan made fatherhood a priority in his own life. After marrying his wife, Silvana, they knew their lives were too good not to share with just each another. Allan and Silvana were active volunteers with local foster homes, volunteering their time to be a positive role model for children with less than perfect pasts. After seeing firsthand the frustration and bureaucracy of the foster system, Allan and his wife adopted an eight-year-old girl who had an abusive past. Allan dove into fatherhood, choosing a career as a school bus trainer so he could have the summers off, never missing his daughter’s dance recitals, school plays or softball games.

Heritage research has shown that adolescents with strong relationships with their fathers have more positive psychological, behavioral and educational outcomes. Having a father present also drastically decreases the chance of an adolescent to be delinquent, and/or abuse drugs or alcohol. Allan knew the implications and took the responsibility of fatherhood seriously.

When Allan and his wife had a second daughter, he again dedicated himself to instilling strong moral values and stressing the importance of hard work. As an active member of the church and community, Allan was always present in his daughter’s life, from helping her build a life-sized wooden horse for her bedroom to later teaching her how to change the oil, battery and tires on her car.

Allan always walked the second mile with anything he entered into. When his daughter decided at five she wanted to play soccer, Allan stepped up and took on the task of herding twenty five-year-olds towards the right goal. Since the Washington State soccer season is often rainy and cold, he would bring a tent, sleeping bags and hot chocolate to the games so the girls could recover from playing in the cold rain. After each game, Allan would present the players with a box with two holes labeled “Win” and “Didn’t Win”. The box would be filled with a new bookmark, yo-yo or other trinket to remind the girls that they worked hard and that winning isn’t everything.

When his daughters entered college, Allan stood as a rock of the family. He was always one phone call away to resolve a moral dilemma, boy problem or to be an emotional sounding board to add perspective to the often times trivial college woes.

A Heritage Foundation Member, Allan exemplifies the Heritage value of creating an America where civil society flourish. He is a true testament for the American Dream. He rose from humble beginnings to create a life centered around family and community, always relying on hard work, rather than others to support himself and his family.

As Father’s Day nears, this author would like to thank her father, Allan, for being an inspiration of the American Dream and for shaping me into the person I am today.

Happy Father’s Day, Dad.

How has your father inspired or impacted your life? 

Comments (7)

Marilyn Martin - June 15, 2012

My mother died when my twin siste and i were 18 months old, when were about 28 months old we went to live with our dads brother in the country several miles from DAd. Uncle Earl was sour daddy. I d9on’t remember he ever laid a hand on us but what he said he meant. We stopped!. When I was about 12 my aunt brought home a dress pattern for me to use in Jr High Home EC. They were pictured by drawing not real people like now. I was having a fit about the pattern Daddy walked over to me put the big Booth farmers hand on my arm and said, “that’s enough”. It was too. Funny thing I liked the dresss when finished. If people would dscipline the children now it would make a big difference. We lived in the country and not much input from other children even in a country school. It is a whole lot different now. What they are teaching them about homo sexual behavior is absolutely disastours. The language kids use in school now is beyond belief of an 82 year old great grandmother!

Robert Manning - June 15, 2012

I remember my father as a man of God, hard working, honest, and one who influenced me to become a teacher, then professor of music, and symphony musician.

Judi Stroem - June 15, 2012

My Dad was a member of the Heritage Foundation from its inception. He taught me to never worry about money because he beleived that if you gave it away it would return tenfold. That is how he lived his life giving to everyone who asked and even to those who didn’t. He never had a bounced check.

Charlie - June 15, 2012

My father impressed me most as being an honest man.
We were farmers so we always had debts whether to finance operations or to buy land/equipment, but we always made our payments. He taught me that I was responsible for my actions as a youth and for my actions and debts as a man. I knew that when you gave your word for whatever reason you kept it.
He always believed I could be more than a farmer and encouraged me to go to college and to select a field that would challenge me. I majored in physics and went to grad school with a full scholarship. I worked in the lunar space program until he died and then went home to run the farm.

Bill Case - June 15, 2012

My father was truly a “jack of all trades”, electrician, machinist, carpenter, farmer and plumber. And he was good at all. He married an equally accomplished widow with three children in the 1920’s, and they had three more boys in the 1920’s. In the thirties, our home financial situation was very difficult. All in the family were taught to save and to work. We had cows and I milked them, We had chickens, and we all fed them. We sold butter and used colored lard instead of butter. We drank skimmed milk, we sold eggs. All our shoes were half-soled as necessary, and clothes were passed from one growing child to another. We all learned that we had to earn things, not just expect them. I and brothers mowed lawns and delivered newspapers from an early age. But, do you know what? We all learned to make the best ot the situation, and I think we are now one of the greatest American families in the USA, with leaders in many occupations. And that is not to mention our family’s contribution to the Military forces of the USA.

Dawn Bullok - June 16, 2012

My father has been gone for 26 years. He was the most important and influential person in my life. He loved God, the USA, and my mom and us four children and it showed in everything he did. He inspired me to reach for excellence, to help others, to have integrity, and always be learning. He only had a high school diploma but I thought he was the smartest man in the world. All his kids have college degrees, some masters, and all his grandchildren finished college and some have post graduate degrees. Quite a legacy!

Joan C - June 17, 2012

My father died when I was 12 1/2, and on the 30th Anniversary of his death, Mom and I talked about how we still missed him. He was such a good man and ahead of his time. He wouldn’t join a church organization that didn’t allow blacks and gave me my love of reading. He was a graduate of Fordham Law School and gave free services. My sister and I loved to go to his office as kids and play “secretary.” Once he forgot the keys so he took us to the Statue of Liberty instead, and he always gave us a supply of nickels for the Automat.

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