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Person 2 Person: Dan Clark, inspirational speaker

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(KUTV) Dan Clark is a professional speaker, best-selling author, songwriter, adventurer and more.

Clark was born in Mesa, Arizona but moved to Utah when he was young.

He attended East High School where he was a sports star. He was recruited by multiple universities and was expected to attend Brigham Young University.

"I chose to be a Runnin' Ute," he said of his college choice.

He played both baseball and football at the University of Utah.

During his football days, Clark was hit during a tackling drill.

"I was paralyzed for 14 months," he described. "Sixteen doctors told me I wouldn't get better."

But somehow, he was able to pull through. And during his recovery, he was asked to speak to a high school football team in Morgan. The team's coach had multiple sclerosis, or MS.

"When I showed up feeling sorry for myself, suddenly I didn't feel sorry for myself anymore," he said.

Clark ended up talking to the team before several of their games. They won the state championship that year.

"I started learning about the power of words," said Clark. And that sparked his speaking career.

His former paralyzation has played big role in what he talks about to his audiences.

"That allowed me to put together a high school assembly and take it to some of the high schools around Utah," he said.

Eventually, he met the motivational speaker Zig Ziglar who introduced him to someone that led him to the Reagan White House.

Clark met Nancy Reagan, who asked him to help her with a special initiative.

"Between 1983 and 1989 I was Mrs. Reagan's go-to guy, taking her 'Just Say No' program to thousands and thousands of high schools in all 50 states," he said.

After speaking to millions of teenagers across the U.S., Clark entered the corporate arena in 1991.

Clark hasn't missed a speech since 1982, even though he's had flights canceled and more. He doesn't want to miss the opportunity to help someone in need.

"I know for a fact that there are a few men and women in every one of my audiences that are hurting as badly as I was," he said. "If they can just feel again and know that it's worth a dang in there, it's amazing what can happen."

Clark describes his speaking style as "I'm not a motivational 'rah rah' guy." He uses his experiences to teach the principles he wants to share with audiences.

One of those life-changing experiences includes going to the edge of space.

In October of 2010 he went to the edge of space in a U-2 spy plane.

"For almost five hours, I sat there at 16 miles above the earth's surface," he said. "What occurred to me is that everything we can take with us when we die I had aboard with me on that aircraft. Our education, our convictions, our character and our memories."

Clark uses that experience to help people to start thinking bigger in their lives.

When all is said and done, Clark hopes he will be remembered for his impact on people.

"I want every person to leave saying 'I like me best when I'm with you. I want to see you again,'" he said.

Dan Clark does more than just speaking. He was an important part of the Chicken Soup for the Soul books, and has also contributed to some hit songs.

For more about Clark, visit his website danclark.com.

Web Exclusives:

Dan Clark is also a best-selling author

Dan Clark talks about being a song writer

Dan Clark was recently honored for his work with the military



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