Cañon City’s Golden Age Center hired a new Executive Director in November 2021. Daniel Clements, who has been with the organization for nearly two years, has a long history in the transportation field, which is how he made his GAC debut.
Clements spent many years as a truck driver before moving to Cañon City in 2001 after his parents, John and Melody, and brother moved to the area. He started working for GAC in 2020 as a driver for Fremont County Shuttle and worked his way up to Transit Manager.
When former director Shawn Johnston left to pursue other ambitions, Clements was nominated for the role. Although it was an honor, Clements was initially hesitant to take on the job. Fortunately, his love for organization prevailed over his caution.
“I love the organization, there’s nothing I wouldn’t do for it,” Clements said, and he especially loves, “The stories I get from these people, the dreams they still have. “
Although GAC was closed for almost a year due to COVID, the seniors were excited to resume socializing and participating in the community. The year saw the temporary disbandment of many services, but the GAC attempted to maintain a connection with older people in the community through Grab n’ Go lunches and monthly newsletters. June 2021 saw the revitalization of GAC and a number of services became available again.
Clements’ responsibilities range from overseeing daily operations and seeking grants to conducting announcements and morning prayers. Diversity keeps him on his toes – and he never gets bored.
“This job has really allowed me to be part of the community,” Clements said. “It gives them (the elderly) a place to go where they can actively communicate and spend time with other people.”
With COVID still a pervasive aspect of daily life, the center is making sure to follow all possible safety precautions – they want to allow older clientele to return if that is what they wish.
Although Clements appreciates everyone who attends the center, he has a special heart for many people. “Papa Jim” Spears and Imogene Sparks are two of his favorites. Spears, a sweet, spunky gentleman with a youthful spark that most 20-year-olds miss, and Sparks, a 25-year-old GAC volunteer, both make regular appearances at the center. They make Clements’ days fun and interactive.
Clements also particularly appreciates the continued support of the GAC Board.
“Our current board is a great group of people,” he said. “They’re very supportive, a very structured board.”
In addition to his love for GAC, Clements also has a special love for Fremont County. He loves the Arkansas River and the many semi-haunting stories that come with the county’s long and storied history.
As for the future, Clements is optimistic.
“I’m not going anywhere,” he said. “Since the day I walked into this place, my heart has been here. Come and visit us; it has been the home of many people, and we would also like to welcome you to our home.”