Hamilton Fire Department Honors Clark Perkins in Annual 5K Run

Hamilton’s Fire Department celebrated the life of Colgate alumnus, volunteer firefighter and U.S. 1st Lieutenant Marine Clark C. Perkins in their annual 5k run this past Saturday, Oct. 29.

After his tragic passing in August of 2020 at 25 years old, the Hamilton Fire Department started the Clark C. Perkins Memorial Scholarship fund, through which friends, family and fellow Colgate Alumni can contribute to Colgate’s third-century plan. To honor Perkins’s Legacy as an involved community member, the Hamilton Fire Department began hosting an annual 5K run in collaboration with the Colgate Men’s Lacrosse Team for whom Perkins was a goalkeeper during his time at Colgate. The funds raised by the run are split between the Memorial Scholarship and the Hamilton Fire Department. The event is followed by a community barbecue open to all.

His biography, available on the Hamilton Fire Departments Website and Military Daily News details Perkins graduated Magna Cum Laude with a double major in International Relations and Economics while being a Division 1 college athlete. Perkins went on to enlist in the U.S Marines where he worked his way up to becoming 1st Lieutenant. It was during his time on the Colgate Men’s Lacrosse Team that he became interested in military service, participating in the U.S. Marine Corps Platoon Leaders Course with teammate Lucas Cooper. Perkins is accomplished on paper but also leaves behind fond memories in the lives of those he touched.

Senior Charlotte Birsh, the organizer behind the 2022 Clark C. Perkins Memorial Run, spoke about Perkins and his memory.

“He was talented, polite, attentive, and genuine,” Birsh said.“He valued service and integrity above all. According to all who knew him, Clark was a wonderful, loyal friend, student and community leader.”

Former men’s lacrosse coach Mike Murphy in Colgate Magazine’s Tribute to Perkins said “Clark had the unique way of making those he interacted with feel larger than life”. 

In a touching video made for the Memorial Scholarship Fund, several of Perkins’s family and friends came forward to attest to his spirit and zest for life. “I struggle to explain how great Clark was,” said Gregory Edward Hyer, a friend of Perkins.

Senior Caroline Friedman ran the 5k in order to honor Perkins’ memory and was happy about the energy during the event.

“It was so good to see everyone gathered together for the Clark Perkins Memorial run on Saturday. Although most of us participating may not have personally known Clark, we all wanted to honor his memory. Multiple people spoke, including Clark’s brother which was really meaningful,” Friedman said. “From all that I’ve heard, he was a magnetic person with the gift of befriending anybody and everybody. Upon finishing the run, everyone cheered and clapped. The energy was really positive and celebratory which felt like a great way to honor such an exemplary human being.”

The Clark C. Perkins Annual 5k run also provides a valuable opportunity for student volunteers, athletes, town members and firefighters to become involved off-campus. 

“​​It’s meant a lot to me to see everyone coming together to participate in something meaningful. From the Fire Department’s end, we do a lot of work for and in the Colgate/Hamilton community so it’s really nice to see people show up for ours as well,” said Birsh.