After serving in the U.S. Army, DeeDee Clement found home in Cañon City – Canon City Daily Record

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The United States Army took DeeDee Clement across the United States before settling in Fremont County. As an Army Logistician, Clement moved from Anchorage, Alaska to Germany and enjoyed every moment. However, her roots were rather simple and she didn’t want it to be any other way.

Clement was born and raised in Moorhead, Minnesota where the average snowfall is 50 inches per year and she joined the military as a young woman. She spent 20 years in the military before falling in love with Colorado when she served six years stationed at Fort Carson.

She and her husband, Bob, moved to Cañon City in 2003 as Bob’s family, originally from Denver, moved to the area. They’ve been busy ever since.

“I love the mountains and I love the outdoors, so this was just the place for us,” Clement said.

After retiring from the military in 2001, Clement actively sought out nonprofit faith-based organizations to contribute his efforts and time. After a holiday stroll with his mother-in-law, Clement spotted a sign designed by Loaves and Fishes to support holiday dining for the less fortunate.

“I was like, ‘wow, what a great organization, I would love to be part of something like this.'” Clement said.

Loaves and Fishes began in 1984 when a coalition of local pastors joined forces to bring resources and assistance to the less fortunate, as well as the homeless. Since then, the shelter has grown to include a food pantry and many other resources to help those in need.

Clement spent time working in her local church, as well as the Veterans of Foreign Wars office before volunteering at Loaves and Fishes where she found forever love.

In 2003 Clement was asked to join the regular staff of Loaves and Fishes and has spent the past 20 years with the organization. In 2007, the E-Free Church reached out to the community for ideas on how best to use the Knotty Pine Hotel, which the church had just purchased.

“At that time, Loaves and Fishes had been thinking about transitional housing and knew there was a huge need for it,” Clement said.

Loaves and Fishes Director at the time, Don Far, approached E-free Church with the idea of ​​converting the newly christened New Creations Inn into a transitional housing unit – the church loved the idea . Clement was installed as Programs Director of the New Creations Inn for several years, where she oversaw day-to-day operations.

In 2012, the board of Loaves and Fishes asked Clement to become the executive director – a role she gladly accepted and has held ever since.

“I love what we stand for and the service we are able to provide to the community,” she said. “I like the fact that we are faith-based. I wanted to be somewhere where we could talk about Jesus and share our faith with others.

She cited the nativity scene on Skyline Drive as one of her favorite aspects of Cañon City, as well as the religiously themed hymns sung by the high school choir students at their concerts.

Despite her deeply held faith, she did not grow up as a Christian. The change for her came after seeing a friend’s boss transformed because of her new relationship with Jesus.

“One Friday he was one way, then one Monday he came back from a totally different person,” she said. “I said to him, ‘what happened to you?’ and he said to me, ‘I have found Jesus.’”

After rolling her eyes, she continued to stare at him.

“He changed his attitude towards his team that was below him,” she said. “He was encouraging, he was positive, he helped them and he no longer yelled and yelled at them. I saw the way he treated his wife and kids, he was loving and kind and I thought, ‘wow, he’s different.’ »

Shortly after, this same man invited Clement to go to church with him and his family. She went. It wasn’t long before she decided to accept Jesus Christ as her Lord and Saviour.

“No matter how dark it is or how hard the road may be, Jesus is always with us, I am never alone,” she said.

Clement’s daily routine at Loaves and Fishes includes overseeing daily activities, meeting with program directors, and networking with the wider Fremont County community to provide more and better resources to those in need. need. Although Loaves and Fishes’ goal is to end homelessness, they know the likelihood of that is slim. However, they hope to do roaming, “rare and brief”.

“If I hadn’t gone down this (military) path, my life would be so different from what it is today,” Clement said. “A lot of people I see, especially people who are homeless, some of the challenges they face – that literally could have been me. It is an honor to serve them.

Clement is proud of the many non-profit organizations that populate Cañon City. From Fremont Adventure Recreation and River Science to Loaves and Fishes itself, the possibilities for those seeking adventure or help in their personal lives are endless.

“We have a wide variety of non-profit organizations doing great and wonderful things in our community and it’s an honor to be part of this sector,” she said.

Despite her extremely rewarding career, Clement has many hobbies outside of work that she enjoys. Alongside her husband of 23 years, Clément loves to hike, walk along the river and ride his Harley Davidson. Road trips to Salida, Guffey, Westcliffe, and even New York take up a lot of time for Clement and Bob.

She is looking forward to a potential vacation this summer to visit their Air Force son Jacob and his wife and children while he is stationed in England.

No matter where she goes, however, Clement knows her heart will likely always remain with the Cañon City faith-based nonprofit known as Loaves and Fishes.

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