Tri-Cities native pays off layaway items for more than 100 families
WALLA WALLA, Wash. — A Tri-Cities native paid off $13,000 worth of layaway items at the College Place Walmart on Tuesday.
Aegis Living CEO Dwayne Clark picked up the tab for toys, electronics, appliances and other goods for 53 families in the Walla Walla area just days before Christmas.
“I didn’t even believe it,” said April Tinney, a Walla Walla mother of four. “I always read about celebrities doing it for others, but never thought anything like that would happen here . . . especially to me.”
A huge “Thank you!” from us to Dwayne Clark, CEO and founder of Aegis Living. Today, he generously paid off all…
Tinney said that she received an email on Tuesday that said the 55-inch smart TV she had on layaway was all paid off. On the College Place Walmart Facebook page, she learned that Clark was the person she had to thank.
“He’s our angel this holiday season,” Tinney said.
Clark said he also paid off the remaining layaway items for more than 50 families at Walmart in the Covington-Kent area near where he lives today.
His goal is to spread a little holiday cheer and inspire others to do the same.
“That’s what this is all about. I think we’re in a time where civility isn’t high on people’s list anymore,” Clark said, adding “I think it’s great to give back to the community that I grew up in and was raised.”
The youngest of four children, Clark told KAPP-KVEW he had a very humble upbringing in southeastern Washington. He was born in Pasco before moving to Walla Walla and attending DeSales Catholic High School.
In those days, his mother worked as a line cook and would often put items on layaway during the holidays that she wasn’t able to pay off before Christmas. He started working in kitchens at the age of 7 to help his mother out and would collect bottles to exchange for pennies.
Today, Clark runs an assisted living care business in Bellevue with over 30 homes in Washington, California and Nevada.
He feels fortunate in this success, but says he hasn’t forgotten where he came. And this isn’t the first time he’s shown it.
Last December, Clark made headlines when he left a $3,000 tip on a meal that cost him $39.60 at The Brief Encounter Cafe in Bellevue.
The story was picked up by news outlets worldwide and was featured on The TODAY Show.
Clark says he didn’t expect to get so much attention for the generosity, but says, “if this can put a smile on someone’s face or restore their faith in humanity I’m all for it.”