Montreal's senior monthly since 1986

Feb '10

Columns

He's more than our longest-standing volunteer: He's family

We would like to introduce Senior Times readers to Lyle McGuigan, who, with 28 years of loyal service, is Sun Youth’s longest-standing volunteer. On December 20, Lyle is going to be 78 years old.

Lyle McGuigan is flanked by Sid Stevens (left) and Helio Galego, who says Lyle is “like a living GPS!”

He first came to Sun Youth in July 1981. His brother was part of the Seniors Club and suggested he also become a member. After four months, Sun Youth executive vice-president Sid Stevens suggested that Lyle become part of the team and do some volunteer work with the organization. Lyle became responsible for making coffee for Sun Youth’s many volunteers and he worked in the administration department counting monetary donations and helping with administrative work.

Before coming to Sun Youth, Lyle McGuigan had been a taxi driver for many years, but a series of events led him to end up on welfare. He was also struggling with alcoholism. When Lyle first came to Sun Youth, his life was a mess, but Sid and the rest of the crew saw the good in him and decided to give him a chance. They have no regrets about integrating him into the Sun Youth family, of which he’s now a full-fledged member.

With the help of Sun Youth and support groups, Lyle put the bottle down for good, ending the unhealthy relationship he had started with alcohol many years before. Lyle took his last drink on February 9, 1989. Everyone at Sun Youth is proud of Lyle for his 20 years of sobriety.

“The Sun Youth staff was always behind me and gave me a lot of moral support when I needed it the most,” Lyle says. “Still today, they are always there for me. They’re like family!”

Just as we are there for Lyle, he, in turn, is dedicated to our organization. If you ever come to Sun Youth, whether to give or to receive, you will be greeted by Lyle and our information officers. If you are a senior who benefits from the food supplement home deliver y program, you probably see him every month bringing you a food hamper. It’s great to have Lyle around you when you go on the road, because, as a former cab driver, he knows the cit y like the back of his hand. Helio Galego, director of crime prevention and victim services, attributes his knowledge of the city’s streets to Lyle. “He showed me everything I know on how to get around in Montreal,” Helio says. “Lyle is like a living GPS!”

Sid Stevens also has nice things to say about Lyle: “Lyle is the type of individual that, if he didn’t exist at Sun Youth, we would have to invent him. He’s an individual that has been so helpful to our organization since we moved to our actual location back in 1981. For us, he’s part of Sun Youth; part of the foundation and part of the landscape. Sun Youth would not be the same without Lyle.”

For information on how to contribute to Sun Youth, call 514-842-6822 or visit www.sunyouthorg.com .

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