The Oakdale Chamber of Commerce has awarded Bill Dyer, a former Oakdale High School teacher, the former familiar face behind Community Sharing, and an overall volunteer extraordinaire the honor of Lifetime Achiever for his years of humble service with various causes, clubs, and organizations.
Dyer will be honored, along with several other award nominees for various categories, on Friday, Jan. 20 at the community center.
Like those who preceded him, Dyer had much the same reaction to his selection and wondered if someone was pulling his leg.
“I was really surprised,” Dyer said. “I’m not sure how to describe an honor like that. I was truly humbled. But my first reaction was, ‘What? You’ve got to be pulling my chain’; I didn’t think I qualified. I just couldn’t believe it.”
Even if Dyer couldn’t imagine why he’d be considered on the same level as those who’ve gone before him, those who nominated him were solid in their reasoning. And judging by the long list of organizations, clubs and causes he’s lent a hand to, it’s not surprising.
Just a snapshot — and by no means a full list — of his accomplishments reads like that of an important man but you’d never guess it from the modest and humble attitude that Dyer projects.
Some of his numerous accomplishments and services are:
• OJUSD Board President during the 2002-2003 years
• OJUSD Clerk of the Board for three years
• Stanislaus County School Attendance and Review Board (SARB), 2000-2009
• Stanislaus County Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention Commissioner, 1984-2006
• Stanislaus County Juvenile Justice Coordinating Council, 1997 to present
• Volunteer and various offices of Oakdale Community Sharing Center, 2000 to present
• Salvation Army volunteer, 2000 to present
• Treasurer of the Oakdale Senior Citizens Foundation, 2000 to present
• Oakdale Lions Club spans 40 years of membership and service
• Oakdale Chamber of Commerce member
• Participant in the Downtown Merchants Association
Dyer and his wife, Jean, came to Oakdale in September 1958 for a job and just never left.
Raised in Crockett, California, Dyer found Oakdale to be similar in the small-town feel of his hometown and immediately liked it. But, as a teacher, he thought he might have to move around a bit and didn’t want to get too comfortable. As time wore on, he kept his resume polished but a funny thing happened – he fell in love with Oakdale.
He signed on with the Oakdale Joint Unified School District as the auto tech teacher and spent the next 38 years shaping young lives.
“I’d planned to stay a handful of years,” Dyer said. “But the longer I stayed, the more I liked it.”
When asked what he liked so much about Oakdale, he said, “Well, in Oakdale, everybody takes care of everybody else and that’s the way it should be. You can’t expect much better than that.”
After retirement, Dyer and his wife made the choice to lend a helping hand wherever it was needed.
“We thought about traveling but the way we looked at it was, there’s always a need somewhere. There’s always an organization hunting for volunteers and we’re able and can take the time,” Dyer said, adding with a laugh, “the yard sure has taken a beating though.”
What started out with a job and helping kids, blossomed into a lifetime of giving and caring that has left a legacy to be proud of and an easy choice for the Lifetime Achiever designation.
And yet, in spite of his accomplishments, Dyer remains modest.
He spent 2002 through 2011 as the go-to man for the Oakdale Community Sharing and only recently handed the reins to someone else, though he remains a volunteer at the food bank. He just can’t seem to slow down and smell the roses. Why? Because there’s work to be done.
Well, that, and he really doesn’t enjoy yard work.
“My volunteering is my justification for hiring a gardener,” he joked.
When asked why he felt compelled to give so much of his time, he said, “I wanted to help out where there was a need. And I guess I never learned the word ‘no.’”
Dyer lightheartedly blamed his wife for all the volunteering he’s done, saying, “My wife encouraged me to try things and got me involved in all sorts of things but we’re a team and I enjoy it.”
And Oakdale has surely benefited from Dyer’s faithful dedication and unfailing work ethic. He’s touched lives through his teaching, volunteering, and willingness to lend a hand, but if asked, Dyer feels he’s the one who has been blessed by those he’s touched.
He offered one final thought, saying, “There’s a feeling of accomplishment when you do something, but you don’t look for the reward. If you’re looking for the reward you’re not doing it for the right reason. You do it just because it needs to be done.”
For information on how to purchase tickets for the annual Oakdale Chamber of Commerce awards banquet, call the chamber office at 209-847-2244.