On Friday evening, August 19, 2016, Central Gwinnett High School (CGHS) named and dedicated the new field house to honor the philanthropic work that included his time and talents of long-time Lawrenceville resident, Clyde L. Strickland.
“The field house was constructed last spring and the decision to name the building after Strickland was an easy one to make,” remarked Eddie Hood, Associate Principal and Athletics Director at CGHS.
For over thirty-four years, Strickland has worked with CGHS from helping them repair a flooded baseball field in 1982, flipping and selling thousands of pounds of hamburgers, hotdogs, and bar-b-que, to being an active member in the PTA and Black Knights Booster Club. Strickland is a recipient of CGHS’ numerous booster club recognitions to include the First String Booster Club Award. Inscribed, it states, “In appreciation for years of hard work and dedication and for your world famous BBQ.”
To this day, Strickland remains very involved with CGHS. “Last summer, Principal Grimes and I wrote curriculum for upper classman to mentor the under classman, in an effort to help improve the overall grade point average of the students and the school.” As I spoke with Clyde, he laughed with joy and said, “I never think about what I do, I just go and do it. I especially enjoy mentoring and telling the students that they can ‘be anything they want to be if they put their mind to it.’”
“Mr. Strickland regularly stops by CGHS to talk with the students, football players, and other athletes to stress the importance of getting good grades, discuss how to be a productive citizen, provide character building lessons, and mentor them on how to be a successful person. He engages with the student body and helps our school,” said Hood.
Hard work, love of God, country, and family are Strickland’s passions. Strickland, born the son of a North Carolina sharecropper, knew the value of a good work ethic to earn a dollar. After dropping out of school in the tenth grade, Strickland later earned his GED while he was enrolled in the United States Army. After his service in the military, he met and married his wife, Sandra. Together, they raised their family. In 1972, Strickland started a company called Metro Waterproofing, Inc.. As CEO of the organization, he has grown the company to almost 400 employees and it has become one of the largest restoration and waterproofing companies in the southeast.
Adopting a ‘What can I do?’ motto, the Strickland’s believe in supporting a myriad of efforts that help the Gwinnett community and beyond. “God has blessed us and we believe we should give back what God has blessed us with to the community,” quoted Strickland. Strickland and Chris Hall, a graduate of CGHS, penned a book called, What Can I Do? The inspirational book sheds light on how to strive to make a difference in one’s community. “We believe in helping America by doing good for all people.”
The Strickland’s philanthropic endeavors make a positive impact; their outreach efforts span from healthcare, arts, education, to social services. They have provided financial support to such organizations as Gwinnett Medical Center, the Aurora Theatre, and Discovery High School located off Old Norcross Road in Lawrenceville, Georgia where the Clyde L. Strickland Entrepreneurship Center provides a space for students who want to learn how to start their own businesses. The American Cancer Society, Jaycettes, Habitat for Humanity, The Hope Clinic, and the Rainbow Village, a special apartment complex in Duluth that provides housing for homeless families, are just a few of the non-profit organizations that have benefitted from the Strickland’s generosity over the years.
Did you know? There are even three churches in Gwinnett County that the Strickland’s helped build to include: St. Edward’s Episcopal Church in Lawrenceville; St. Mathews Episcopal Church in Snellville; and Holy Cross Anglican Church in Loganville where they continue to be active members of the congregation.
Before the CGHS football game on Friday evening, Clyde and Sandra Strickland, surrounded by family, were presented with a beautiful photograph of the new field house by CGHS Principal, Maryanne Grimes that proudly displays the name, Clyde L. Strickland Field House in large black letters on the red brick wall above the double doors.
“I love Clyde’s energy and the positive vibe he expresses to the kids. Principal Grimes, Coach Wofford, and I appreciate all that Clyde has done for CGHS, its student body, and for our community,” expressed Hood.