Patrick County High School honored two Patrick County residents at the annual Distinguished Patrick Countian Assembly on April 27.
Janice Wilkins was chosen as the recipient of the Distinguished Patrick Countian Award, and Judge Martin Clark received the Community Service Award.
The Student Government Association organized and carried out the ceremonies for the two honorees. Family members and friends were guests at the assembly.
“The first Distinguished Patrick Countian Award was presented in 1975,” according to an introduction by SGA members. “Now in its 41st year, this ceremony stands as a strong tradition celebrating Cougar pride and spirit.
“The first Outstanding Community Service Award was presented in 1993,” the introduction stated. “This year marks the 23rd anniversary of the inaugural presentation of the award.”
“Janice Wilkins, a lifetime resident of Patrick County, has dedicated her life to serving this county and those who live in it,” An SGA representative said. “She attended Stuart Elementary School before graduating from our very own Patrick County High School in 1974.”
Wilkins attended Radford University, where she earned the bachelor of science in nursing degree.
“She has shown her dedication to the community through her work at the Blue Ridge Nursing Home and at the Golden Living Center in Mount Airy, N.C.,” according to the SGA introduction.
She was director of nursing and administrator of the R.J. Reynolds Patrick County Memorial Hospital (now Pioneer Community Hospital) for several years.
Wilkins also served on the board of the New College Institute and the board of Stuart Rotary Club and was president of the club.
“One of the awards of recognition she has received for her service is the International Paul Harris Award,” stated the SCA introduction. She is a current resident of Patrick County with her husband Alex Wilkins. They have two sons.
Martin Clark is both a circuit court judge and an author of four books of legal fiction. He graduated from Davidson College cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, and attended law school at the University of Virginia.
When he was appointed to the bench in 1992 at the age of 32, he became one of the youngest judges in the history of the commonwealth.
His novels have appeared on several best seller lists and have been chosen as a New York Times Notable Book, and Washington Post Book of the Year, a Bookmarks Magazine Best Book of the Year, a Boston Globe Best Book of the Year, a Book-of-the-Month Club selection, a finalist in the Stephen Crane First Fiction Award, and the winner of the Library of Virginia’s People’s Choice Award.
Clark is a member of Who’s Who in the World, a former trustee of Stuart Presbyterian Church, and a lifelong fly-fishing enthusiast.
His wife Deana is a photographer, and they live on a farm with dogs, horses, cats, chicken, guinea fowl and a donkey.
Most recently, Martin and Deana Clark were recognized by the Patrick County Board of Supervisors as the “anonymous donors” of $117,433 to the Patrick County Public Animal Shelter. The board voted to rename the shelter the Hazel Y. Clark Animal Shelter, in honor and memory of Martin’s mother, a longtime teacher in Patrick County schools.
The Clarks’ contributions have paid for spaying, neutering and vaccinating animals and increasing the number of pet adoptions, as well as an addition to the shelter.