Hinckley’s Citizen of the Year leads a life of service

by Chris Studor

Looking back over the 46 years Dave Manley has lived in Hinckley, it’s hard to find a community organization he hasn’t participated in by striving to make the community of Hinckley a better place for its’ residents.

For his efforts, Manley has been named the 2024 Hinckley Citizen of the Year and will be honored at a ceremony at Brongers Park on May 2.

“Dave is a committed and dedicated volunteer,” commented long time resident Victoria Tift. “His volunteerism in so many organizations from 1978 up to today makes him an excellent candidate for this award.”

Charles Gibson, member of the Hinckley Historical Society, including past president, agreed, noting that Manley is “so well known to the people in the community from his work with the Historical Society, Zoning Board of Appeals and currently the Bicentennial Committee, it’s fitting that he be chosen Citizen of the Year.”

Manley recalls the camaraderie among residents during his early years living in the township.

“A group of us would meet at the donut shop and discuss the current topics of the township and became good friends along the way,” he said. “It was there I met Ron Rhodes, who was a long time trustee and we became lifelong friends.”

Manley is not only an active member of Our Lady of Grace Church, serving on the parish council and as a member of the finance committee, but he has also served on the Hinckley Board of Zoning appeals for approximately 20 years.

“When someone came before the zoning board and asked for a variance, for example, I always asked the person if they were aware whether the issue was in compliance with the zoning code,” said Manley. “Often something a person requested just couldn’t be done but we worked to find a better way to solve the issue.”

Manley has also been involved in several activities affiliated with the Hinckley Chamber of Commerce, including the township’s Christmas festivities and annual Halloween celebration. He also is one of the charter members of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, an Irish Catholic organization, and remains an active participant.

While playing vital roles in several Hinckley organizations over the years, Manley and his wife, Ruth Ann, raised seven children. Manley worked as an administrator for self-funded health plans most of his working career. Surrounded by antiques as he was interviewed at the Hinckley Historical Society, Manley acknowledged that times have changed.

“We used to get up in the morning and go right outdoors to play, then come home for lunch and dinner and not come home again until the sun went down,” he said. “Young people today are often tied up with their electronics but I encourage all young adults to take an active role in their community and help shape it for future generations.”

Manley has more than 30 years service with the Hinckley Historical Society and currently serves as the society’s president.

“Our big push right now is getting ready for Hinckley’s Bicentennial Celebration in 2025,” said Manley.

It seems as if there’s a Hinckley community event, long-time resident, Dave Manley, is a part of it, continuing to work toward making Hinckley a great place to live and raise a family. ∞

Photo: Dave Manley has been selected as Hinckley’s 2024 Citizen of the Year. Photo by Chris Studor.