by MICHELLE TREMBLAY | photos by Zeena Gregg Photography

A Blazing Torch

One day, Tom Clements found himself sitting in the park, wondering about his purpose in life. “I started to write down how I wanted to live the rest of my life,” recalled Tom. “I wrote the following, which has become my personal mission: to continuously teach, lead, and grow as a family member, in my community, and as a business professional so that when the day is done, I will be able to pass a ‘blazing torch.’”

That revelation took place 30 years ago. Today, Tom is living up to his life’s mission. A retired executive, Tom makes it a priority to spend quality time with his family: wife of 43 years Nancy, son Josh, daughter-in-law Hannah, and three grandchildren. Tom is also passionate about giving back to his community, and is a member of the mission leadership group at Peñasquitos Lutheran Church, where he has been an usher for 25 years and has taught Vacation Bible School and Sunday School. But it was five years ago that Tom was given the opportunity to give back to children in a big way. He began volunteering for Coffee4Kids-Honduras (C4K-Honduras), a nonprofit organization that raises money by selling fair-trade Honduran coffee to provide children and families in Honduras with basic necessities such as, food, medicine, water, and medical supplies.

faces_clements4“A friend of mine suggested to me I should get involved in this mission because of my passion to help people, especially children,” explained Tom. So, at age 59, Tom went on his first mission to San Pedro Sula, Honduras. “This was life-changing,” he described. “You drive up to a hospital and see a store outside the hospital selling baby coffins. Then you go into the public hospital, into the children’s ward, where you find out there is no medicine and four to seven children die a week in the hospital.” After the trip, Tom returned with a fierce passion to help save the very sick children of Honduras. He wasted no time in taking action.

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He and Nancy host an annual BBQ for friends and family, where most guests provide donations to C4K-Honduras. “This past year we had 125 attend!” Tom exclaimed. He also makes his own BBQ sauces and rubs to contribute to the cause – his latest recipe: Coffee4Kids-Honduras Coffee Rub. “Several businesses are now selling the Honduran coffee and coffee rub to their customers with 100 percent of the proceeds going to C4K-Honduras,” noted Tom.

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He is also doing his part to share the story of C4K-Honduras. “About two years ago, I was told about how children in Honduras are dying from dehydration and illness as a result of drinking contaminated water,” shared Tom. “I came up with a re-hydration tool that is simple and very cost effective. A Girl Scout troop in PQ just made 1,400 of these devices for 400 families this year!” Another time, when Tom was talking to a group about the nonprofit’s plan to build a feeding station to prevent seriously malnourished children from dying, a gentleman in the group asked how much it would cost to start providing food for the station. “I said in the beginning it would be approximately $5,000 per year,” recalled Tom. “The man responded by saying, ‘Put me down for $5,000 per year till I die.’”

Tom continues to spread the word in hopes that others will be inspired to get involved. “I talk to everyone I come in contact with about Coffee4Kids-Honduras,” added Tom. “My motto is: ‘You can make a difference in a child’s life.’”


Name: Tom Clements
Profession: Retired
Community: Rancho Peñasquitos
Hobbies/Interests: C4K-Honduras mission, helping people and being a friend to everyone, cooking (especially barbequing and smoking meats), SDSU basketball and football, San Diego Gulls
Favorite Spots in 92129: Visiting friends and neighbors in PQ and of course attending church at Peñasquitos Lutheran Church

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