October 2010 Award Recipient - LYLE THIELE|
Lyle Thiele has two jobs and, in addition, he contributes to Montgomery as a community volunteer and has for decades! “You are so active—how do you do it all”, he is often asked. His answer, “You just do it!” Lyle is originally from Parkdale, and moved west in 1988 bringing his commitment to volunteerism. He comes by this commitment naturally, as his father and mother are leading citizens in Parkdale due to their unabating volunteer activities there. Lyle can’t remember not being involved in community—scout leader, bottle drives, church—and he brought this resolution and experience with him to Montgomery. He immediately became involved in the Police Community Action group (PCAP) which seemed to be more active than the community association at that time. They were involved in traffic issues; for instance, they carried out traffic reduction studies on Home Road and Bowness Road. After four years or so, Lyle and the PCAP group decided to regroup around, and energize, the Montgomery Community Association, thus beginning a few years of intense work on the MCA executive updating the bylaws, obtaining the corporate registry, recruiting new Board members, and so on. As Lyle tells it, the meetings were “colourful”, and they often had to go to the pub for a beer afterwards to “wind down”. The MCA organized community events, including Hallowe’en nights with haunted houses, pub nights two or three times a year, and a bridge club, to stimulate interest and involvement of Montgomery residents. Then the trailer park at the end of 13 Avenue attracted the interest of a developer, and the MCA had a new focus of urgent attention—protecting community members who lived there. There was much controversy and disillusionment, and Lyle tells the story well, but when the dust settled, Lyle found himself representing Montgomery on the city’s newly formed committee to develop a master plan for Shouldice Athletic Park. After hundreds of hours of work, that plan emerged, and included concern for the interface of the park with the residential streets of Montgomery, such as landscaping along Home Road, a berm, and careful planning of the access points. (Unhappily, the City council did not accept this master plan.) Meanwhile, Lyle has never faltered in his high energy involvement in Montgomery activities, including casinos, the community cleanup, and so on. He does not limit his volunteer activities to us, however, and is also on the Board of the Rotary Park Lawn Bowling club, is an active volunteer in Parkdale’s Nifty Fifty’s, volunteers for CADS at COP, and “does casinos” for so many associations he can’t even keep track. Not to be fettered, Lyle even volunteered with the Canadian University Service Overseas (CUSO) and taught for two years in southern Africa. Aren’t we fortunate that Lyle came back to us after that? Lyle, please keep on “just doing it” for Montgomery—you are an important person in our community and a model for others who are ready to join in!
Denise Brown, MCA