“I still get up at 5 o’clock in the morning and say this simple prayer, ‘Lord, let me put my foot in your footsteps so that people will see you in me, and want to follow you.’” – Clyde L. Strickland.
There are many Americans that talk about doing something. Clyde Strickland is out there getting it done. His positive attitude and faith that God still works miracles are his superpowers when it comes to making change happen. Over the years, the Stricklands have been involved in tons of philanthropic work, much of it in Gwinnett County, Georgia. From the Strickland Heart Center at Northside Hospital Gwinnett to the Clyde Strickland Entrepreneurship Center at Discovery High School to the countless other contributions the founders of Metro Waterproofing have made to local theater, film, and other artists, the lasting legacy of Clyde and Sandra Strickland will live on for generations. But what is Clyde’s secret to making a difference? How does one man seemingly make ten times the impact of other successful business leaders on his community?
“You have to act on your vision and ideas and be willing to work for it … We’re always looking for initiatives that give people a hand up and not a handout. When people have a calling and need support to get it done, if we know that they’ll work to get that job done, then I’ll roll up my sleeves with them. But if someone is looking for a handout or just an easy out, then they’re talking to the wrong man,” Clyde explains in his third episode on The Gwinnett Podcast.
It’s clear that the Stricklands credit the impact they have made to being able to listen to God and choose the right partners that will work hard to get things accomplished.
Today, Clyde continues his work to change America in a collaborative effort with Rodney Cook Jr. to further the efforts to build a “Peace Park” in downtown Atlanta. Cook’s organization, the National Monuments Foundation, received the 2006 Palladio Award for best new public space in the United States for the Peace and Justice Gate and Plaza. He also received The Atlanta City Council Award for The Prince of Wales’s Centennial Olympics Monument. Cook and his organization, Youth for the Fox, were awarded the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Prize in 1974 for saving the Fox Theater in Atlanta.
“Rodney’s father, Rodney Cook Sr., is the reason we have I-75 coming through at Atlanta and Hartsfield Airport, and he kinda built Atlanta. He also grew up across the street from Martin Luther King Jr.,” Clyde explains.
As an avid historian himself, Clyde was attracted to the idea, not only because he trusted in Rodney’s ability to get the job done, but also because he understood the dream of the future impact it would bring.
“It’s not about whose name is on the park, it’s not about bringing Atlanta to the forefront of the world, it’s not about anything related to corporate interests or personal affluence, this is about world peace. It is about bringing the world together to talk about loving one another,” Clyde states plainly.
Since beginning work on the project, talk of the Nobel Peace Prize forming a headquarters in the city and a Peace University forming at the park have also started to make waves. Clyde hopes that an education curriculum that teaches the next generation on how to become peacemakers and difference makers might also be developed in the coming months and years.
Clyde concludes his interview by sharing, “I hope before the Lord takes me that I would get to see and give a speech in the Peace Park at a Peace University, and that would be my greatest accomplishment.”
To hear all about this endeavor and more from Clyde Strickland himself, make sure you don’t miss the full podcast on The Gwinnett Podcast titled Clyde Strickland Part 3: Making An Impact.