Stuart Kiar doesn’t think twice about helping his community.
It’s what he does.
That unreserved commitment has led to Kiar receiving the Wallaceburg and District Chamber of Commerce Business Improvement Association award for Dresden.
The humble Kiar says he doesn’t do it for the accolades.
“I just think it’s what you need to do,” Kiar explains of his volunteer service. “It’s good, it’s a good place to live.
“In a way, it’s become my hobby.”
The long-time Dresden lawyer has been busy assisting with various projects in his adopted hometown since moving here in 1996.
“I didn’t know anybody,” Kiar says, adding he ending up coming to Dresden to work for Bob Blackburn who had a practice set up in Dresden through the Siskinds Law Firm.
His first step was to join the Dresden Rotary and he’s never looked back.
He and his wife Kathy, who hails from Leamington, liked the idea of raising their son Alex in a small town and that was another factor putting down roots in Dresden.
His son Alex Kiar is now studying for his Masters of Science at the University of Toronto, and he’s currently working in a space flight laboratory.
Born in Shawinigan Quebec, Kiar is the son of the man who ran the city’s pulp and paper mill. He worked for his dad as a summer student before moving to Ontario to attended Western University for his undergraduate, and then law degree.
Kiar shares his hometown with former Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien. Ironically, Chretien also worked for Kiar’s father as a summer student at the mill while working towards his own law degree.
The veteran attorney — who deals primarily with real estate, wills and estates — is still hard at it 5 days a week.
When he first began volunteering, Kiar says he was impressed with the devotion Dresden residents have for their town.
Through the years, he says, that hasn’t changed.
“People are willing to step up and volunteer,” he adds. “There are a lot of big projects here that have great success,” he adds, citing the rock solid Terry Fox Run and the new splash pad.
That same spirit is embodied throughout the municipality, he says. His favourite project thus far, says Kiar, has been the Rotary Summer Concert Series.
“We started it with 3 concerts in 2000 and now we have 8-9 concerts a year,” he adds. “It’s nice to see it grow.”
Fast forward to 2020 and Kiar talks of the great success of the May 16 Miracle. He served as a co-captain with Laura Poland on the Dresden’s portion of the venture.
That experience led him to become a co-captain of The Gift, the upcoming food and gift drive taking place on Nov. 21.
He says the idea of taking part in The Gift, and then adding the new ‘Dresden Shines’ campaign, came from the cooperative working relationship he has with other local volunteers in the May event.
“We worked so well together,” he adds. “We have good energy.”
And if he wasn’t busy enough with volunteering and his law practice, Kiar is heavily involved in Dresden’s Union Block bakery, a business his wife started two years ago.
However, COVID-19 has put the brakes on that project for the time being, but the business will soon be opening to public in limited hours.
The 2020 award from the Chamber marks the second time Kiar has been honoured. Previously, he received it 2012.
Pam Wright, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Herald