ATLANTA — As the saying goes, “to the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world.”
This is true of Terry Clark. Clark meant the world to his family, friends, and community. He lost his life shortly after a fire engulfed his family home on Jan. 7.
Peggy Staples, Clark’s sister, Frank Staples, Clark’s brother-in-law, and U.S. Army Sgt. Kip Staples, Clark’s nephew were also home during the fire. All three men were sent to the hospital with severe injuries, and Frank and Kip are now out of the hospital and recovering from this tragedy.
The Staples and Clark Benefit was packed with family, friends, and community members at the Atlanta Hatch Hose Fire Department on Feb. 4.
A table was made in Terry’s memory at the benefit. It was clear to all who were there that he had touched many lives.
“The whole community has come out for my family,” Kip Staples said. “I am extremely grateful to all of them for coming.”
Kip Staples grew up in the home on 1 Main Street. He had been in the U.S. Army for six years, and is now in the Army Reserve. Staples plans on being in the military until he retires.
“It was my childhood dream,” he said about his service. “I wanted to be a police officer, so I was in the military police. I made some of my best friends from overseas when I was stationed in South Korea.”
The Staples Family had a second home that they are now living in until they can decide to rebuild or move somewhere else.
“It is a big difference to go from a two story home to a trailer,” Staples said. “It is my mother’s second home. We got a little trailer and fixed it up. My sister was living in it.”
The funds from the benefit are going towards the medical bills and the new homestead.
Staples thanked everyone for coming to support his family.
“It is truly unbelievable and breathtaking to have everyone here,” he said. “My family and I don’t have words for it.”
Jody Adams, Kip’s older sister, said Uncle Terry was very important to all of them growing up.
“Whenever you saw Terry you got tootsie rolls,” she said. “Terry grew up around all of us. He was our whole life, and our kids whole life.”
Pat Hunt, Terry’s school bus driver, said Terry would sing “Wheels on the bus go round and round” every time.
“He was such a good guy,” she said. “As you can see the community loved him.”
Adams said the community would do a bike race on Terry’s birthday, and whoever won was able to go for a ride in the fire truck.
“Terry always won,” she said. “He would take a ride on the fire truck every year. The bike race went from Mountain View Inn and through North Cohocton.”
They are planning on doing another bike race on July 29 to honor him.
Lorraine Weber, a family friend, said Terry was a very special person.
“He was very friendly and open and honest. He is the family,” she said. “They all loved him. To see so many people come out to help is great. I feel good being a part of it.”
Weber said the entire family is gentle, kind, and open-hearted to everyone.
Atlanta Fire Department Past Chief Mike Walker said that he grew up with the family.
“I was there the night of the fire,” he said. “They have always been great people to the community, so it is good to see the community step up for them.”
“This is what is great about being in a small community,” Walker continued. “You don’t see this happen in large communities. In small communities everyone is there for you. You see the heart of the community here.”
Olde Country Store and More co-owner Denise Wells was helping with the food line all day.
“It feels good to help someone in need,” she said.
Wayland American Legion Commander Kevin Mark said they are here to support the family anyway they can.
Olde Country Store and More is having a fundraiser for the Staples Family on Feb. 25 at 5 p.m. in the upstairs area. There will be a movie night costing $3 per person, and they are asked to bring a chair or blanket to sit on.