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Dave McDonell keeps working at age 91

Dave McDonell works the transfer station gate at both the Town of Carlyle and RM of Moose Creek landfills.
Dave McDonell relaxing at the kitchen table of his Carlyle residence.

CARLYLE - For nearly 20 years, long-time Carlyle resident Dave McDonell has manned the transfer station gate at both the Town of Carlyle and RM of Moose Creek landfills.

On Monday and Saturday afternoons, he works the Carlyle location located two kilometres north of town. On Monday mornings and Thursday afternoon, he works at the Moose Creek transfer station located 10 kilometres north of Alameda just east of Highway 9.

Until a few years ago, he also used to work the Village of Kenosee Lake facility and used to share his landfill duties with longtime friend Glen McConnell.

“I have seen a lot of changes in garbage collection over the years, and all have been for the better,” said McDonnell. “The customers are much more organized when they deliver their waste.”

Red metal bins store various materials, including flattened down and clean cardboard, appliances, tree branches and leaves. Bagged grass clippings are also accepted. A nominal fee is charged based on the item and the amount being delivered.

“Many residents don’t know that anything metal, be it a stove, washing machine, barbeque or an exercise bike, can be dropped off during station hours without a fee being levied,” said McDonnell. “This has been in effect for a couple of years now.”

At one time, McDonell operated a dry-cleaning business with his brother-in-law Harvey Lewis. In the 1970s, ‘80s and ‘90s, McDonell was a self-employed commercial painter in Carlyle and area.

Pat Roesslein, Emma Morrissette and sister-in-law Val Miller were among his loyal employees. He has lived in the same residence on Second Street East for over 64 years.

McDonell was the Town of Carlyle Fire Chief for 17 years. He was also on town council. “I was a councilor when Carlyle finally approved the paving of its streets. That was quite the experience.” 

He was also on several boards including the United Church and chamber of commerce, and was a school trustee.

McDonell is somewhat of a medical marvel. When he was 19 years old, he lost the sight in his right eye and was fitted with an artificial eye. He also has two artificial knees and two artificial hips.

“I guess you could call me the bionic man,” he quipped.

Despite his age, McDonell enjoys relatively good health and remains very active. He still enjoys working and the numerous friendships he has developed over the years.

“It gets me out of the house and gives me something to do. I really enjoy talking to the people. If you see a red Buick at the landfill, I am at work. Please stop in and say hello,” he said.