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If someone needs help, Lyle Gordon gives it. And at age 85, he's not even close to slowing down. You'll find him all around Douglas, spending his days helping others create safe spaces with projects like building access ramps and repairing chairs.
Because of his dedication to helping others, Cingo Pest Control has named Lyle its Circle & Shield Award recipient.
"One of the ladies I visit was so worried that someone had stolen her outdoor chairs," Lyle says. "She had forgotten that I took them home and fixed them up for her. When she saw them looking brand new, she was so pleased. I don't do it for a pat on the back, I do it for that kind of reaction and knowing I did good."
For more than 30 years, Lyle has looked for ways to help others. It might be a small gesture, like a ride to a Bible study class or doctor's appointment. Or it might be a significant effort, like improving a rural hospital. Decades ago, when Lyle lived on Lake Oconee in Greene County, he gathered up volunteers who spent countless hours improving the local hospital when county funds weren't available for renovations.
There's no job too small — or too big.
"We cleaned, we painted and fixed up the entire hospital," he said. "If I didn't do something I would have felt guilty."
Lyle credits his early years of retirement in Greensboro as the start of his personal campaign to help others. He tells a story about joining a small, country church there, and spotting an immediate need in the congregation.
"One of the first things I noticed was that a lot of the church members were elderly widows who could use some help around the house," says Lyle. "So I got to work."
His work in Greensboro included repairs to ensure homes were safe from break-ins, cleaning heaters, and building slip-proof handicap ramps. While a leader of the Masonic Lodge there, he also led an effort to convert space at the lodge hall to create a safe, secure place for women and children in need.
"That ranks at the top of my list of projects and charitable work I've been involved with," Lyle says.
Originally from Petrolia, a town in southwest Ontario, Canada, Lyle spent years in the United States working for Dixie Pipeline Co. He recalls the great team he worked with, managing propane needs for seven states across the South, and ending up in Atlanta for much of his career. He met Carol while they both lived in Atlanta in the early 1970s — she had quit her teaching job in Florida to start over in Atlanta.
"God definitely had a hand in bringing us together," says Carol. "Our paths would have never crossed if I hadn't taken a leap of faith and moved to Atlanta. Now we've been married 45 years, and I think it's going to last."
Lyle and Carol, who now live in Douglas, have five children who live across the country. With the closest one living about four hours away, Lyle creates family time by helping others in his community. One of his favorite activities is playing Santa for local charities, a role he's enjoyed for more than 30 years.
"He's never been one to sit and do nothing," says Carol. "Lyle's inspiration is helping other families."