Special to The Lake Report
I first met Dave Wall when, at the young age of 15, I became friends with his son Richard.
That year I was recruited to work at the Virgil Stampede parking cars and setting up a strategic way for cars to get in and out of the park.
To this day, at 53 years old, I still volunteer at the Stampede and I am a member of the Virgil Business Association.
Mr. Wall, who died on Nov. 2 at the age of 91, was one of the founding members of the Virgil Business Association along with Leno Mori.
His death is a big loss to our community, but he will always be remembered for working hard to make our town a better place.
As a teenager, I didn’t understand the whole meaning of the Stampede, other than having fun, going on rides and eating too much food.
Later in life I understood why the Virgil Business Association and Mr. Wall created the Stampede.
It was to raise money and then put that money right back into the community. As many of you know, the Virgil Business Association has raised well over a million dollars over the years.
A great deal of that money went toward our arenas, our community centre, the Virgil soccer fields and many, many other worthwhile ventures that this community was, and is, in need of.
When I was a young man of just 22, I was given an opportunity to work at Wall’s of Virgil.
My position was in sales and my first day on the job started like this: Dave Wall approached me as I came in through the front doors of the store and said to me, “Captain, do you have a minute?”
I responded, “Yes, I do.”
Dave said, “What time is it?”
Well, I had short sleeves on but did not have a watch on my wrist. I went on to explain, “Sorry sir, but I don’t have the exact time.”
Dave then said to me, “If you’re going to work for me you need to wear a watch.”
That set the tone for the entire duration of my employment at Wall’s of Virgil.
Dave had a particular way of doing business and many of us who worked at his store knew that things were done “the Dave Wall way.”
That meant there was a certain way to greet people, there was a way to take messages, there was a way to do everything.
I, for one, thought he was going overboard, but I did it “the Dave Wall way” because that was how it was expected to be done.
Today, I am a business owner, operating the Good Eats Diner. The business ethics and techniques that I learned from Dave Wall form an important part of what we do every day in my business.
I laugh to myself on many occasions when I find myself doing something the “Dave Wall way.” And I can still hear him say, “Well done, Captain.”
Dave Wall was a community leader, a mentor and a man who excelled at getting things done.
Thank you, Dave Wall. You made a difference in my life and for the village of Virgil and all of Niagara-on-the-Lake.
You will always be the Captain.