Thursday, December 29, 2005

Real American Hero-The Chow Hall Guy



Here's some bonus pics of Corporal Clarke working the chow hall crowd New Years Day.



The Moto Tap



The Chow Hall Guy Shakes Another Hand "Wazup Devildog"


Corporal Jonathan K. Clarke USMC


Not every job over here falls into a category with a potential for doing something heroic. Even so, there are a few who manage to be heroes in their own way, despite having the least glamorous of assignments. One of these here at Camp Fallujah is "The Chow Hall Guy", Corporal Jonathan K. Clarke of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.(Cue the Bud Light Real American Heroes music please!) Cpl. Clarke works 8 hours a day checking ID cards as GIs enter the DFAC(Dining Facility). He stands a little post of about 10 square feet sandwiched between sandbags and concrete barriers day after day, week after week and month after month. M. Scott Peck, the self-help guru, once defined a hero as someone who's able to accomplish what no one else can, and this applies to Clarke. He greets everyone approaching his post with infectious enthusiasm and a savoir-faire all his own. And he does this while requiring all, whether private or general, to show him their ID card. His trademark is an infectious "oorah, oorah" followed by a handshake, or, what he calls, a moto tap. (Moto is Marine-speak for motivation.) Clarke has managed to transform the most mundane and repetitive of tasks into a genuinely looked forward to experience. Most of us, myself included, would be deadened at some point by this species of mindless work. But Corporal Clarke of North Philly has made this job all his own by putting his heart into it. So, here's to you oh sultan of salutations, the Chow Hall Guy, a Real American Hero.

21 comments:

Beth* A. said...

No small parts, only small actors? And there's something very Zen about this: "Just BE the 'Chow Hall Guy'......"(minus the lotus position :-))
Bravo, Cpl. Clarke! (Great smile, too!)

Kat said...

Thank you for the story. I am interested in all of our men and women since it takes everyone of them to get the mission done.

His part might seem small, but without him, we might have another Mosul incident. Good on this soldier. He deserves his own moto tap.

whit said...

That's great! You tell him America sends its most heartfelt thanks.

annie said...

Thank God for the people who are constant in their efforts to bring happiness to everyone!
Cpl. Clarke-I am sure you have no idea how many people leave the chow hall-happier because of you!!!!

KRIS said...

oorah! oorah! whats good SHOCK TROOPS AND CIVILIANS. It is my pleasue and honor to bring a smile to everyones face. I give God all the praises for giving me the gift of encouragement. I am represnting NORTH PHILLY the city of brotherly love. GOD BLESS EVERYONE. Have a good day and STAY CLASSIE. Beth thank for the compliment.

Maggie45 said...

Omg, look at that smile!! Oh thank you for this. Will you tell Corporal Clarke that a fan of his in Arizona has his photo on her laptop, so she can take advantage of his moto taps? You Marines are really sumpthin'

Beth* A. said...

Cpl. Jonathan (K. for Kris, I'm now fairly certain ;-)) Clarke:
North Philly can't know how LUCKY it is to have such a wonderful representative in you!

Thank you for your service. Thanks also for doing what you do with such enthusiasm, and for passing that great energy on to those you see every day. Way to go, Kris!


"Stay classy" - I LOVE that!
Oh, and hey, that wasn't just a compliment, it's the truth, you have one of those engaging smiles that lights up your eyes and just makes a person want to grin right back at ya! :-)
Here's wishing you (and without question you too, W.O. Mike D. Fay!)and ALL our troops a Stellar 2006; full of love, blessed peace, and sheer happiness!

Samantha West said...

A smile, a word and a touch...some of the most powerful things in the world.

Great article!

Sam

Wayne's Mom said...

Sounds as if Cpl. Clark has the genuine gift of encouraging others!

GunnNutt said...

Happy New Year, Marines! Your moto reaches the homefront, Mike & Kris - Thank you!!! Semper Gratus.

Anonymous said...

I love you guys! Cpl Clarke - your smile puts a smile on my face! Thank you M.D.Fay for once again providing those of us at home with an encouraging glimpse of America's best. If I was given the option of having dinner at the Ritz with [pick the celebrity] or at a chow hall in Iraq with WO Fay and Cpl Clarke, guess which I'd choose?!?!?!?!

Maggie45 said...

Thank you!! The New Year's picture of Kris greeting those smiling Marines is now my desktop. Everytime I turn on my little i-book, I'm reminded of America's heroes, and I am grateful and I thank God.

caclarke said...

Hi, this is Cpl Jonathan K. Clarke's mom. Thank you for the article and a chance to see his smile. And to you W.O. Mike D. Fay God Bless you and thank you for allowing our family to see a serious and yet relaxed side of this time in Iraq. His smile and encouraging words keep us "MOTIVATED". Thank all of the troops, I pray for you daily. God bless you. Son, I love you!! Mom

Anonymous said...

oorah, motivator

Every thing said about Cpl. Clarke is God's honest truth. There is not a single person on this base that doesn't know this guy and returned his contagious smile. You do good work devildog, keep doing what you do. I'll see you next mid-rats.

Sgt JMS said...

You are ordered to be where you are and do what you do by the Marine Corps. You are supposed to take that and make whatever it is the best. Cpl Clarke has taken the job he was given and made it his own. There is nothing more motivating than getting out of the field and being welcomed by him to his chow hall. He deserves to be recognized for the outstanding job he does every day. Urah rah rah rah rah...

Maggie45 said...

Glad to see Cpl Clarke's fans in the field commenting here. Thank you, guys, for doing such a good job of keeping us safe here at home. I am deeply grateful.

And to Mrs. Clarke, you have raised a wonderful, wonderful son. When I turn on my computer every morning, what I see is the smiles on the other guys' faces when they see him, while coming into the chow hall. It reminds me of just how blessed this country is to have people like yourself, your son, and all his buddies. And all of our military and their families. Thank you.

chunkybaby said...

to my friend and that is not a phrase I use loosely. I have always known that you are truly annointed and knowing you has been a blessing to me. Be who you are and there is no stopping you. I am happy others are blessed by your presence. Know that you are loved and appreciated. Take care Lovey! Later.

Jackie and Kellie said...

Greetings Corporal Clarke! Dear Jon, you make all of your family and friends so proud. We miss you, we think of you often, and we wait for news of how you are. Thanks for keeping us up to date, and way to Represent Philly! Whoah! Your Uncle Kellie and I miss you! Thanks to you and all the troops for all you do for us. You're ALL in our prayers. Come home safely! We love you!

Bro Jones said...

Having knowing CPl Clarke personally, there couldn't have been a better picture painted. He is what "MOTO" is all about. Nothing fake or pretense, all 100% real..."The Genuine Article." Most importantly he is annointed to greet. May God continue to bless you and keep you safe.

luvyaman
Bro Jones

Anonymous said...

God bless you and keep you safe Cpl. Clarke, a beautiful soul like yours is a gift to all of us. Anyone with eyes to see can see God's Grace in you.

You and those you care for will be in my prayers.

Thank you so much this and your other stories Mr. Fay.

- K.G.

Anonymous said...

I just found this blog looking for the Poem Fire and Ice by Robert Frost, and I must say that i am glad to have found it. Your art is amazing, and I am very supportive of our troops. Keep up the good work, and keep up the amzing pictures and art.
God Bless,
Devon A. Gallagher - Seattle