Carol Lilly is our spotlight member-owner this month, and her family of four moved to Cedar Falls in 2008. Her husband Chris grew up in CF and after working in the mid-west for several years, they settled here to raise their two boys, Jake and Josh. Chris is the warehouse supervisor for Cedar Falls Utilities and Carol is the director of Community Main Street. Jake is now 20 and is in the Marine Corps. Josh is 18 and will be leaving for San Diego State University this fall.
Now that their children will be gone much of the year, their free time is about to change! They enjoy spending time outdoors and supporting local events and activities, many times through volunteering. Chris is one of Community Main Street’s most active volunteers, according to Carol. Their most consistent volunteer activity is watering the downtown plants on Sunday mornings during the summer. Chris is a member of Rotary and Carol is on numerous boards, including Sartori Foundation, Cedar Falls Community Foundation and Cedar Falls Community Theatre. She also sits on the Park & Rec Commission and acts as a liaison to the Cedar Falls Tourism Bureau and Greater Cedar Valley Alliance and Chamber Affiliate group.
Carol’s parents are her greatest role models. They both endured great hardships growing up, yet were able to find a way to go to college, choosing careers in education. They taught her that a person’s station in life doesn’t matter and to treat everyone fairly and with respect. “Everyone has something to contribute and tapping into each person’s strengths helps them grow individually and helps the greater community,” Carol said. They also taught her the importance of family and always making it her top priority.
The vibrancy of downtown is one of the primary reasons they decided to move back to CF, so Carol was really excited when she got the opportunity to work for Community Main Street. “I may be bias because of my work, but I truly love the downtown district! A locally owned shop or restaurant has a different vibe than big box. To me, the cluster of local businesses downtown and on the Hill helps give Cedar Falls its personality,” she said.
Carol is looking forward to having a food co-op in town, due to the sense of community the co-op offers: “It brings people who may not have crossed paths in everyday life together and turns acquaintances into friends.”
Although they moved around quite a bit when they were first married, Carol said, “No matter where we have lived, we found ways to connect and embrace the community in which we lived. ‘Living local’ has been our lifestyle long before it became mainstream.”