David Hall: A Lifetime of Service

David Hall at Evening in the Maritimes on May 1st 2024 – Photo by Caroline Phillips

(Story published in the 2013 Annual Report)

David Hall is a life-long community activist. For more than 50 years, this self-described “shy man who likes to stay involved,” has rallied, inspired and organized volunteers to lend a hand in their community. At least three Ottawa-based organizations, most notably ABLE2 (formerly Citizen Advocacy of Ottawa), have David Hall to thank for their creation. At age 75, he’s now working on a fourth.

When he first moved to Ottawa from P.E.I. in the late 60s, he saw a need to rebuild the local brand of the Y-affiliated Service Club. In search of a cause around which he could mobilize support, he didn’t need to look further than where he was working at the time, the Silver Springs Farm Agricultural Training Program.

Two young participants in Hall’s agricultural training program were residents of the home for the intellectually impaired located across the road. They approached Hall to ask for his help leaving the residence. With the support of volunteers willing to raise the fund required, and the commitment of a dedicated advocate, Edgar Quellette, the two young men went on to lead happy, independent lives. And Citizen Advocacy of Ottawa (CAO) was born. 

After a couple for years selling Christmas trees and raising enough funds to support several other successful matches, CAO received a provincial grant. With that funding, Hall’s group hired one part-time employee and increased the number of matches made from fewer than five to more than twelve. By 1974, CAO could afford full-time staff and was established officially as a charitable agency. 

“Community outreach has always been a big part of my life,” says Hall. Recipient of a national community building award in 1986, Hall isn’t slowing down. He’s in the process of mobilizing support for a new program modeled after CAO— this one, for vulnerable people living in poverty. Asked what keeps him motivated, Hall replies that it’s all about “cutting through the isolation, loneliness and feeling people have that no one cares about them.” At the end of the day, says Hall, “We’re all equal.”

In May of 2024, United Way East Ontario awarded David Hall, founder of ABLE2 the Community Builder Award! The organization recognized David’s dedication to community-building efforts, and empowering vulnerable members of the community! 

Congratulations, David!