Local News

June 12, 2014

‘Quiet leadership’

Doug and Alice Squillario honored as the Toast of the Town

Alice Squillario was once a puppeteer with the Family Support Council’s Kids on the Block, which educates area children about physical and sexual abuse, bullying and healthy lifestyles.

So when officials with the council approached her and husband Doug about being honored as the “Toast of the Town,” Alice Squillario made one thing clear.

“I had asked for this tonight (the puppets to perform during the Toast of the Town dinner), it was my request,” she said. “I said I will do it (agree to be honored) only if you do that. We’re trying very hard to be focused on what should be focused on instead of us.”

Some 305 reservations were made for the Thursday night event at The Farm, and Karen Townsend, chair of the Toast of the Town committee, said more than $64,000 was raised for the council, which offers a myriad of services to the community. Those services include child and adult education efforts, child advocacy, residential services for teen mothers and their children, assistance to grandparents raising grandchildren, and home visitation services that focus on healthy families. During 2013, the council served 18,745 individuals.

Townsend said this was her 11th year working on the Toast event, and “every year we raise more than the previous year.”

She said council officials are “blown away by the generosity of Dalton, the community that cares, and cares not just with dollars but also with their time and energy.”

Both Squillarios were humble about the recognition, and wanted the attention squarely on the Family Support Council and the work it does.

“Doug and I are being honored and we appreciate it, but it’s actually to showcase the Family Support Council, and we are proud to do that because we are both very excited about what they do and we are trying to let it be about them and not us,” said Alice Squillario.

“We’ve always done a number of organizations and a number of boards to give back to the community with time and money, and we don’t do it to be recognized,” said Doug Squillario. “And we were reluctant to do it (the event) except we knew it would help the Family Support Council raise money.”

One of the toasters, Dalton State College President Emeritus Jim Burran, said the couple “are among the leaders of the community, and have been for years. They’re among that group in town whose fingerprints are on every worthwhile activity or initiative that the community has launched. I just can’t say enough about their quiet leadership.”

Burran said he knew the Squillarios primarily through the Dalton State College Foundation, which both have served over the years.

“Doug was especially critical during his time in the late 1990s and early 2000s because we were launching our first-ever bachelor degrees at that time,” Burran said. “The foundation support was critical in making that happen, and Doug and the late James Brown and Norris Little and that group really did a fabulous job in raising the money we needed to hire new faculty and buy equipment to get everything in place for a successful launch of those first bachelor degrees, all of which were important to the flooring industry.”

Also among the toasters was Ginger Phillips, Alice’s daughter who now lives in Greenville, S.C., but who grew up in Dalton.

She said the recognition for the couple “means a lot” to the family.

“It’s been a lot of inspiration to all of us, the way that they’ve conducted their lives, the way they wanted to give back to the community,” she said. “They have supported so many organizations through the years, not just financially but with their time. They care a lot about the community of Dalton and it was important to them to give back.”

And give back they have. According to information provided by the council earlier this year, Doug was an Eagle Scout and a scoutmaster, and has served on the American Cancer Society board and the Cherokee Estate board, and with the Heart Fund, Rotary Club and the Salvation Army board. He has served as president of the United Way of Northwest Georgia and for the Dalton Golf & Country Club. He is on the GreenHouse board and serves as president of DOC-UP. He has also served on the Whitfield Healthcare Foundation board.

According to the council, Alice was the first woman to serve on the Dalton Board of Education, spending 15 years there, and was a speech therapist for Dalton Public Schools as well as a teacher. She teaches Sunday school and has served as a Girl Scout leader.

Among the boards she has served on are the American Heart Association, Cheerhaven, Family Support Council, Looper Speech and Hearing, Salvation Army and United Way. She is involved in the Women’s Leadership Council of the United Way and helps Doug at DOC-UP.

The couple are active members of First United Methodist Church in Dalton.

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