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From board meetings to bake sales this volunteer has done it all

George Bridle is a man of many facets, and his list of accomplishments is long. This month he was named Volunteer of the Year by Prince Edward Community Care for Seniors Association.

The award recognized Mr. Bridle's years of volunteer work for the organization that works to keep seniors living independently at home

He served as a member of the board of directors from 1981 to 1991, helping to draft its bylaws. But he drafted assistance in other ways.

"I think one of my biggest contributions to Community Care was getting them treasurers, " he says casually. "I'd get them into the COPE office (a self-help bereavement group) in the basement of the Bristol block and gradually move them upstairs to Community Care."

Fund-raising for Community Care, Mr. Bridle was part of a variety show staged at Prince Edward Collegiate, "where they have the hardest chairs in North America." Mr. Bridle organized what he terms "Operation Buns Master," An acquaintance knew the source of some surplus fabric which he had made into cushions. He regretted that the school declined to purchase them.

Among his other Community Care volunteer activities was collecting the money for years at the annual Christmas bake sale. "And of course I did income tax in Wellington for years and years. I always made house calls for clients in Wellington," he recalls. Yet another task in the early years was preparing the annual report , "for which I usually put on my rose coloured glasses."

But one activity that he has done from the beginning is the one he still carries on today -- Meals on Wheels. From the early days when meals were prepared in the kitchen of Wellington volunteers and delivered by their spouses, Mr. Bridle continues to deliver Meals on Wheels, now prepared in Picton, twice a week in Wellington. His wife Connie is his driver on the delivery route.

When a heart attack last year forced Mr. Bridle to stop his volunteer work, his clients were upset, says Mary Scott, co-ordinator of the Meals on Wheels drivers in Wellington. "He enjoyed the people he took the meals to and they liked his sense of humour," she says.

Mr. Bridle's connection with Community Care dates back, he says, to the days when the office was a small space above the Paradise Restaurant." Then we got big time and moved to the Armouries Mall and screened off some space for income tax preparation." He noted the present new quarters in the renovated and renamed Armoury are luxurious by comparison to the cubbyhole that was occupied many years ago.

For another of Community Care's office moves, this time to the building that now houses the new store L'Attitude & Lace, Mr. Bridle persuaded Ontario's then lieutenant-governor, Lincoln Alexander, to attend. Although he was about 40 minutes late, "His Excellency finally did show. The kids at the high school had presented him with a cake, and he borrowed his aide's sword, cut the cake and licked the sword tip," much to the delight of the students present, says Mr. Bridle.

But as with most volunteer jobs, the official occasions are the highlights, but the everyday tasks were less glamorous. "Connie and I did dishes for years at the seniors' dinners in Bloomfield, Wellington, Consecon, Ameliasburgh and Demorestville," he recalls. With a smile.

Connie, whom he still refers to as "my bride," smiles too.

For further information contact:
Prince Edward Community Care
476-7493[an error occurred while processing this directive]