All aboard the Jim Clark Express

Local business leader, Rotarian mobilizes community to honor retired Daniel Kids CEO


Every community has its heroes, but often times those heroes go unsung. Thanks to the efforts of one Ponte Vedra Beach business leader, however, local hero Jim Clark will be remembered for years to come.

A member of the Rotary Club of Ponte Vedra Beach, Clark recently retired from his role as CEO of Daniel Kids after 27 years of dedication to improving the lives of local children and families. When fellow Rotarian and Brightway Insurance Ponte Vedra Beach owner Billy Wagner learned of Clark’s retirement, he knew he had to do something to memorialize that legacy.  

“I became passionate about this, because I’ve been a ‘big brother’ in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program for about 10 years,” Wagner explained. “My ‘little (brother)’ went through a really traumatic experience last year, and I called Jim Clark, who was leading Daniel, and the work, the counseling that they did with him … was so moving for me that I said, ‘I’m going to do something to give back to Daniel.’”

With the opening of a Therapeutic Group Home this year for kids ages 12 to 17, Clark advised Wagner that Daniel Kids was in need of a van for transportation to and from medical appointments, school and other engagements. Upon hearing the news, Wagner — who was president of the Rotary Club at that time — sprang into action and mobilized the troops.

“We do a big fundraiser every year,” Wagner said. “As president of the Rotary Club, I got to select who the main beneficiary was, so I selected Daniel, which gave them $15,000 to support this van.”

Although the $15,000 covered a significant portion of the cost of the van, additional funds were still needed to purchase it. Determined to achieve his goal, Wagner set about finding other ways to raise money for his cause.

“We did a push-up contest at Rotary,” he said. “I donated $10 for every push-up, and then we bet on who could do the most push-ups, which was a lot of fun. I donated $7,000 for that cause, some of the other members donated another $800 in bets and then people gave their winnings too, so the Rotary Club really participated in it a lot.”

Even with the additional donations from Rotarians, however, the van was still just out of reach, so Wagner personally reached out to some of his professional contacts and was eventually able to raise a grand total of $25,386.30.

With the check to secure the van signed and delivered this past week, Wagner advised that the vehicle will serve as a memorial to Clark’s many years of devoted service.

“He was there for 27 years with Daniel, and he really impacted the community,” Wagner said. “He’s just a great leader and a hero for kids, so the van will be called the ‘Jim Clark Express.’”

To learn more about Daniel Kids and its various outreach programs for families and children, visit