Johnstown residents Smith and Donna Clark have been named Senior Citizens of the Year by the Johnstown American Legion and Fourth of July Committee.

Johnstown residents Smith and Donna Clark have been named Senior Citizens of the Year by the Johnstown American Legion and Fourth of July Committee.

The same groups are also honoring Jack Walsh as Legionnaire of the Year during an Independence Day celebration set to begin at 8 p.m. on Saturday, July 3, in the Johnstown-Monroe High School football stadium.

Smith said he and his wife were quite surprised and very humbled at being named Senior Citizens of the Year.

"It's such a great honor," Donna added. "I'm so glad we're both here to enjoy it."

The Clarks are former trustees of the Chapel of the Four Chaplains.

Smith Clark, a World War II veteran, said they were trustees of the chapel because a Johnstown boy, Joseph Decrow, was on the U.S. Naval ship Dorchester when the Germans sank it in the north Atlantic in 1943.

He said the chapel is a memorial for two Protestant chaplains, a Catholic chaplain and a Jewish chaplain, all of whom gave up their lifejackets, sacrificing their lives so that others could survive the sinking ship.

The incident is noted as one of the most courageous moments in American history, Smith Clark said. The chapel is located at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard.

Smith, 88, has lived in Johnstown his entire life. He's a past commander of Johnstown American Legion Post 254 and Licking County Council of the American Legion.

He has been a member of the post for 60 years and a member of the Masonic Lodge for 52 years. He's also a 25-year Scottish Rite Mason.

Smith retired in 1985 from Rockwell International in Newark. He also worked from 1958 to 1963 as an electrician for Clark's Service in Johnstown.

The 1940 Johnstown-Monroe High School graduate is the oldest living member of the Johnstown Volunteer Fire Department.

Donna Clark, 82, retired from Nationwide Insurance in 1984.

The Clarks are members of the Johnstown United Methodist Church.

They are the parents of daughter Sharon Clark Miller, of Lancaster; son Don Clark, of Johnstown; and grandson Brian Clark of Newark.

Bruce Tolle, commander of the American Legion, said everyone felt Smith Clark was instrumental in Johnstown's Legion.

Legionnaire of the Year Walsh, a World War II Navy and Coast Guard veteran, has been involved in the "Gifts for Yanks" program the past 31 years.

Every Christmas morning he leaves Johnstown to visit fellow veterans at Chillicothe's VA Hospital. In addition to extending friendship to the vets, he also takes goody bags with toiletry items that are distributed by volunteers.

Walsh also visits veterans at the Ohio Veterans Home in Sandusky.

He's married to wife Lucy.

Walsh and the Clarks will be recognized during a short program beginning at about 8 p.m. at the stadium at Johnstown-Monroe High School prior to the fireworks that begin at dusk on Saturday, July 3.

The 2010 Little Miss Firecracker will also be recognized. She will be crowned during the pageant that begins at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, July 2, in the Johnstown-Monroe High School Performing Arts Center.