With a passion for boats and water, there is no other place that Auxiliary Sergeant Frank Dileo would rather be than with the Marine Unit.
The 14-year volunteer was the recipient of the William Blair Award, created in 2013 by the Divisional Policing Support Unit to honour an Auxiliary member who has demonstrated outstanding commitment to community service.
The award was presented at the annual Auxiliary graduation on November 25 at the Toronto Police College.
“There are many others who are deserving of this award,” said Dileo. “For me to be selected as the year’s winner is very humbling.”
The time Dileo spends at the unit is the equivalent of the hours put in by full-time members.
He educates the public on marine equipment and the importance of water safety, conducts boat safety equipment checks at launch sites along Lake Ontario and is a fixture in the TPS booth at the annual Toronto International Boat and the Toronto Sportsman Shows.
Dileo, who has contributed over 800 hours already this year, also conducts tours of the Service’s Marine Unit.
“The greatest pleasure I have is taking children stricken with cancer on a tour or police boat ride and watching them having fun and forgetting about their illness for a few hours,” he said. “It’s unbelievable.”
Constable Richard Baker nominated Dileo for the award named after the Service’s 10th Chief, who retired last April after nearly four decades on the job.
“He is just an outstanding individual and I thought it was time he gets his due,” said Baker. “He’s a fixture at our unit.”
Volunteering runs through the Dileo family.
His sister, Joanne Dileo, has been a volunteer with 13 Division for almost three decades.
Over the years, she has chaired the Community Police Liaison Committee’s organized community barbecues and clean-up campaigns and acted as a sounding board for officers.
Auxiliary Sergeant Vicky Lai, who joined the program a decade ago and was assigned to 42 Division, was honoured with the James Carnegie Memorial Award.
It’s presented to an Auxiliary member who demonstrates outstanding leadership skills and proven commitment to the community. The award honours the legacy of the organization’s first Auxiliary officer whose community involvement was extensive and distinguished for four decades, before his passing 16 years ago.
“I am shocked because I work with a lot of dedicated people who are just as deserving of this honour,” said Lai, an engineer with Industry Canada since 2000. “They are very professional and hardworking and I love being around them.”
She was promoted in 2012 and transferred to 13 Division where Superintendent Scott Baptist is the unit commander.
“Vicky is one of the busiest Auxiliaries in the Service, volunteering her time generously every opportunity she gets,” said Baptist. “She is punctual, shares information with her peers, sets a good example to Auxiliary and sworn members and comes to work with a very positive attitude. She works hard to achieve every assignment she’s given and can be counted on to keep incident commanders at major events informed while ensuring that the members under her supervision are properly supervised and informed.”
Contributing a significant number of volunteer hours during the 2014 International Soccer Federation (FIFA) Under-20 Women’s World Cup in Canada and this year’s Pan/Parapan Am Games, Lai – a Ryerson University graduate – also volunteers for car-seat installation clinics.
“This is a very important initiative that teaches expectant parents and families with young kids about proper car seat installations,” added Baptist. “Her dedication and commitment set an excellent example. Her devotion to her role makes her an asset to the Auxiliary and Toronto Police Service.”