Board, Senior Staff
If you ask Clancy Imislund what brings him back to The Midnight Mission day after day, the witty response you may get is “the 10 freeway”. At 86 years old, Clancy is still at the top of his game. Known worldwide for his leadership in the 12-step community and his affiliation with The Midnight, he is very much, a man on the move. This year marks his 40th year as Managing Director of The Midnight and what a remarkable journey it has been.
Clancy Imislund was born in Eau Claire, Wisconsin in 1927. At the tender age of fifteen he left home and joined the Merchant Marines, marking his sixteenth birthday in Pearl Harbor. At the age of 17, he joined the U.S. Navy. It wasn’t until he enrolled in college after the war, that Clancy began drinking and gaining more of a dependence on alcohol. When asked how his addiction began, he states that he began drinking with the other Veterans (even though he didn’t particularly like the taste) because it was the thing to do. Unfortunately little by little, alcohol slowly took control of his life and after a 15 year downhill battle he found himself alone and penniless on the streets of Skid Row, He had lost everything; his job, friends and his family. Only the clothes on his back and portable typewriter remained, which he pawned for ten dollars so he could function a bit longer.
On October 31, 1958, Clancy was thrown out of The Midnight after a brief scuffle…and no one dreamed that one day he would return to become the organizations leader. Back out on the street again, Clancy came to the realization that he had finally hit bottom. His recovery began by walking 71 blocks, in the rain, to an alcoholic rehabilitation center on Wilshire and Fairfax. Upon entering, he was asked if he was willing to do what it took to get his life back, and this time Clancy simply answered “yes”. Under the instruction of a mentor, Clancy found a job, a plan of life and began his journey on the road to recovery. After five years of sobriety and laborious progress on his part, his wife made the decision to return to him. He made his way back into the workaday world and after some time became an executive at KHJ radio and television in Los Angeles. It was during this time that he began working with alcoholics and speaking to civic groups about alcoholism and rehabilitation. He had found his passion in helping others get their lives back.
Fast forward to 1974, a member of the Board of Directors of The Midnight asked Clancy if he knew of any candidates that were qualified for the Managing Director position. He could find no one that would take the job, and decided to do it himself on an interim basis. But Clancy was so effective that he stayed on permanently.
Over the years Clancy has had a profound impact on The Midnight and in the lives of the thousands of men who have come through these doors. He was responsible for bringing the 12-step philosophy to The Midnight, establishing our organization as one of the first providers of addiction treatment on Skid Row. Clancy has said that what we do “is the difference between giving a hungry person a fish and teaching them how to fish”.
Never one to mince words, Clancy is known for his direct, no-nonsense demeanor, but also for his approachability. He always seems to have the time to listen and provide a few words of wisdom when asked. To say that Clancy is the heart and soul of The Midnight would be an understatement. We salute and thank Clancy for his endless dedication and service to The Midnight and to people in recovery worldwide.
Articles About Clancy