April Darling named first winner of Mel Clemens Award for Community Service in Reynoldsburg

Lee Cochran
ThisWeek group
April Darling (second from left) was named winner of the 2020 Mel Clemens Community Service Award on Dec. 7 during a City Council meeting. Councilman Stacie Baker (left) made the presentation which also was attended by two of Clemens' children, Melodi Slater and Shane Clemens.

April Darling, a Reynoldsburg resident and longtime school district volunteer, was named the first recipient of the Mel Clemens Community Service Award during City Council’s meeting Dec. 7.

Mel Clemens, a longtime Reynoldsburg City Council member and fixture in the community, died June 3 at the age of 88. 

Created as a way to honor Clemens’ legacy, the award criteria said it is presented  “to an individual who has displayed outstanding volunteer service in the community within the last year. Their pride in our community is apparent and demonstrated by their volunteerism and efforts to make a positive difference in our city. Such an award will recognize not only the community service and volunteerism but the compassion, respect and kindness shown to others and the way they have consistently improved the quality of life in Reynoldsburg.” 

Darling, who helps run two Reynoldsburg City Schools PTOs, also is a member of the Reynoldsburg Area Chamber of Commerce and the Reynoldsburg Lions Club. She was named the chapter’s Lion of the Year for 2020.   

“Mel was a really awesome guy, and I’m very honored. Thank you,” Darling said.  

“This award is to show the kind of spirit Mel had toward the city,” Councilman Stacie Baker said. “April Darling is the embodiment of what Mel stood for.” 

Clemens’ public service dated to 1960 when his political career began at age 28. With stints on City Council as both an at-large and ward representative, Clemens also served 16 years on the Truro Township Board of Trustees and 11 years as the city’s safety-service director. 

In a 2017 interview, Clemens credited his late wife, Nancy, with bringing him to Reynoldsburg. He met her in 1949 at a square dance, and they were married for 56 years until her death in 2008. 

A member of the Reynoldsburg United Methodist Church, Clemens ran the Reynoldsburg Teen Center with his wife. 

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