By Breanne Massey
After a busy career as an engineer and raising five children, Doug Leibel decided to give back his time to the community as a Good Samaritan.
The 74-year-old Calgary resident retired to Invermere 19 years ago and immediately began paying it forward as a volunteer in 1996.
Mr. Leibel spent time volunteering at the Columbia House, the Canadian Martyrs Catholic Church Council, the Mountain Friends, the Lake Windermere Lions Club, the Lakeview Manor, the Columbia Valley Food Bank and the Hospice Society. His dedication to helping out as a mentor, co-ordinating affordable housing for seniors, showing off the ski slopes to beginner athletes and giving out hampers at the food bank has been applauded by his peers.
Mr. Leibel also spent five years helping the organizing committee get the Wings Over The Rockies Festival off the ground.
I dont know what it is about me, said Mr. Leibel, but I think theres just something in my nature that drives me to help others.
The Rotary Club of Invermere has recognized Mr. Leibels generous nature by presenting him with the annual Citizen of the Year award at their regular meeting at the Invermere Curling Club luncheon on Wednesday, April 29th. The Rotary Citizen of the Year is an opportunity to recognize the quiet, selfless work of volunteers who continually strive to achieve excellence by strengthening the community.
I think of helping others as a gift because I can see how much they appreciate it, explained Mr. Leibel, noting there are many inspiring volunteers scattered throughout the community.
He added the opportunity to learn new skills or admirable characteristics from other volunteers is always a bonus.
There are so many people doing great work in Invermere and with those volunteers, youre always learning and growing from each other, said Mr. Leibel. Its like we feed off of each other.
His wife of 54 years, Joyce Leibel, agreed.
I think his sense of humour stands out, she said proudly. He certainly knows how to lighten the mood when times are tough.
The opportunity to help the community only seems natural to him, in spite of feeling like a fish out of water when being praised.
The biggest things that keep me busy now are the hospice, the manor and the food bank, concluded Mr. Leibel of his ongoing efforts in the community. Its humbling, and a little embarrassing, to be recognized as a volunteer. Theres a lot of really great volunteers here.
Mr. Leibel was also designated a Paul Harris Fellow by the Rotary Club as a tribute to his selfless work.