Colin Reichle is a man who steps forward when a job needs to be done. This trait, which inspired him to give decades of service to his community and country, has earned him widespread respect and now also the 2014 AU Volunteer Service Award, presented to him in Edmonton on June 11.
Learning, leading and volunteering
The first person to enrol in AU’s MBA program, Reichle took full advantage of the its flexibility. It enabled him to study around full-time work commitments in the Canadian Armed Forces and progress in a career that would span more than 20 years.
Reichle left the Canadian Army Reserve in 1996 as lieutenant-colonel commanding the 20th Field Artillery Regiment (Edmonton and Red Deer). He graduated from AU in 1997 and later became a member of the Veterans Review and Appeal Board. Skills honed in the military, combined with his passion to serve, led him to volunteer in leadership capacities with a diverse group of local, provincial and national organizations (see list below).
Why Reichle volunteers
“I was raised to believe in service,” he says, “and believe it is everyone’s responsibility to serve. If you have the ability and the means, if you can make your community better, then you have an obligation to do something. The volunteer work I do aligns with my personal inclinations, and,” he adds with a laugh, “I’ve discovered I’m quite good at it.”
“Volunteering gives you many opportunities for ‘small wins,’ and I’ve seen a lot of small successes and some large successes,” he says. He’s helped to implement a multi-million-dollar initiative to eliminate maternal neonatal tetanus worldwide, offer symposia on Canada at war in Afghanistan, and launch a program to keep motorcyclists and children safe in traffic. And he gets tears in his eyes thinking about the children with severe disabilities who he’s helped go to camp.
While serious illness has forced Reichle to give up his volunteer work recently, he can reflect on how the global perspective he acquired, in part, through his MBA enabled him to look outwards to see what needs to be done to improve society.
“If something is important, you make time for it,” Reichle says, noting that he did many of his volunteer roles simultaneously. “I dove in with a goal in mind and a time frame to get it done. There’s great satisfaction in developing the plan and seeing it come together.”
Reichle’s volunteer record
Here are some of the groups Reichle has volunteered with along with his roles in those groups:
- Camp Health, Hope and Happiness Society (director, president)
- Canadian Association of Student Activity Advisors (national director)
- Canadian Learning Trust (treasurer, director)
- Edmonton United Services Institute (director, president)
- Kiwanis International (president, Kiwanis Club of South Edmonton; governor, Western Canada District; trustee, Canada and the Caribbean)
- Military and Hospitaller Order of St. Lazarus of Jerusalem (commander, Edmonton Commandery)
- Portugal Canada Chamber of Commerce and Industry (national chairman)
- Royal Canadian Humane Association (director)
- Royal Commonwealth Society of Canada (Edmonton branch founding chairman, national vice-chairman, national chairman)
- Royal Lifesaving Society, Alberta and Northwest Territories (president)
- Scouts Canada St. Albert Scout Group
- St. John Ambulance (brigade provincial commissioner, vice-president, board member)