Couple walk the walk with volunteer work
Occupation: Sales manager at Lamar Outdoor Advertising, Janesville
Family: A daughter, Corinne, 17; one son, Rob, 15
Hobbies/Interests: Biking, writing, hiking, travel, watching sports, fantasy football
Favorite books: Anything by Michael Perry, Elmore Leonard or P.J. O'Rourke
Favorite movie: "Field of Dreams"
Music listening to: Bruce Springsteen, Tom Waits, Frank Zappa, Richard Shindell, Miles Davis, Joe Jackson, Barenaked Ladies, The Clash, The Swell Season, Andy McKee, Couch Flambeau
Biggest influence: Dad, who had an outstanding work ethic, was selfless and honest. Mom, who was strong and courageous, and his grandmother, who kept her family together when she was widowed with seven children during the Depression.
Past volunteerism: Volunteer boards/activities for Janesville Area CrimeStoppers, Wisconsin State CrimeStoppers, Milton Plan Commission, Janesville Academy of International Studies, Milton Seventh Day Baptist Leadership Council, Boys & Girls Club of Janesville, School District of Janesville Joint legislative Committee, SpotLight on Kids, Partners in Prevention
Three words that best describe you: The class clown
Occupation: Community relations manager at United Way of North Rock County, Janesville
Family: A daughter, Corinne, 17; one son, Rob, 15
Hobbies/interests: Family time, hiking, calligraphy, reading, home decorating, gardening, travel, advocacy for naturopathic medicine and banning asbestos
Favorite books: "Ninety Minutes in Heaven," by Don Piper; "Girl with a Pearl Earring," by Tracy Chevalier; "Freedom Writers Diary," by Erin Gruwell; reading now: "Experiencing God," by Henry Blackaby; "Breakout Church," by Thom S. Rainer
Favorite movies: "The Sound of Music" and "Once"
Music listening to: Anything my kids play. Corrine plays trombone, percussion, guitar, piano and sings. Rob plays electric guitar and tenor saxophone. Otherwise, folk rock—Cat Stevens, The Swell Season, The Frames, Richard Shindell, Johnsmith, Lucy Kaplansky, Amos Lee, Shawn Colvin, Vonda Shepard, Barenaked Ladies
Biggest influence: Parents, who gave her a firm foundation of the importance of faith, family and hard work. Both worked tirelessly to support six children yet still made time for family and travel.
Past volunteerism: President of Friends of Milton Public Library, home on Milton Historic Christmas Walk, Milton schools volunteer
Three words that best describe you: Organized, friendly, sensitive
Milton's Jim and Linda Lyke believe they've been so blessed, they ought to give back to the community. The Lykes are featured as part of the Janesville Gazette's "People Who Matter". Kyle Geissler reports.
MILTON Two communities in Rock County are richer today because of the contributions of Jim and Linda Lyke.
Blessings bestowed upon the couple have led them to share their time and talents over the years with organizations in Milton where they live and Janesville where they work.
"We are very blessed. So I feel God expects more of us when we have a good life and when we have a lot to be thankful for. Through that, I want to give back," Linda said.
Jim agreed: "Both having worked in nonprofits, we saw how important volunteers were to getting the work done. So when opportunities arise, you just hate to say no. You want to help."
In conversation, Linda repeatedly refers to her faith and involvement in Milton Seventh Day Baptist Church, through which she does community outreach. That involves helping at the GIFTS Homeless shelter and serving on the church leadership council. She also is active in groups that her children are involved in, such as the Milton High School show choir, and she is secretary of the Milton Public Library Foundation Board.
Jim has directed and produced plays at the Janesville Performing Arts Center, wrote JPAC's opening night performance and its fifth anniversary show and serves on its board of directors. He also emcees community events.
When choosing volunteer projects, the Lykes strive for quality not quantity. This way, they said, their efforts are more effective.
Participating in a church mission trip to help victims of Hurricane Katrina had a lasting effect on Jim.
"It gives you a new perspective after seeing people who lost all their stuff walk up to a total stranger and say thank you," he said.
Linda, an advocate of libraries and reading, is most proud of her involvement with Friends of Milton Public Library.
"That helped me get involved in the community, help me gain confidence. When you work in nonprofits and believe in it so deeply, it becomes a lifestyle," she said.
The Rev. George Calhoun of Seventh Day Baptist Church said Jim and Linda are committed Christians.
"They put shoe leather on their faith. They just don't talk about it. They show it."
Laurel Canan, former executive director of the Janesville Performing Arts Center, has worked with Jim and Linda on community projects.
"They've very community-minded and want to see Janesville, Milton and our whole area be a better place."
The Lykes agreed that their efforts are regional.
"It's not just Milton vs. Janesville. What's good for Milton is good for Janesville and vice versa," Jim said.
"The communities are so connected and interrelated. To me, it's all one," Linda said.
With so many accomplishments already and without feeling they've done anything remarkable, what lies ahead for Jim and Linda, who put church, family and home first?
"I'd love to sit in a cabin in the woods and write all day," Jim said.
Linda said she can't look ahead right now and relies on her faith for direction.
"I'm so immersed in the kids at this point," Linda said.
"God will lead us as long as we keep turning to him."