GC Top Mover-and-Shaker: William 'Bil' Montague
By Jessica Rodrigo
Just about every Wednesday in Goliad, visitors can see Bil Montague at the Markethouse Museum, where artifacts from early ranching are housed for the public. During the week he's at the Chamber of Commerce, checking messages and tending to business affairs, making appointments, scheduling meetings and staying busy. On the second Friday of each month, he'll be out drawing the lines for Market Days held on Saturday. But before his busy life in Goliad, he had other ways to stay busy.
About four or five years ago, Montague and his wife, Darlene, moved to Goliad from Ohio, where he ran a golf course and taught at a college. His wife's family, which dates as far back as the 1800s in Goliad, was often a destination spot for them before retirement.
When he was younger, he remembers his father serving as a member of the local chamber of commerce and being involved in several fair associations. Montague said he never had the chance to get involved in his community because he was so busy, but now that his kids are grown and he is retired, he has the time to dedicate to helping others.
"He hit the ground running when he moved here," Harold Gleinser said about Montague. "He basically came into town and asked what he can do to help."
Gleinser, a former Goliad County judge, said Montague offers his time to area parades, riding on fire trucks and in mini-cars.
"He works very hard, but doesn't walk around like it," Gleinser said. "He's very humble."
Goliad Chamber of Commerce executive director Mona Foust, who nominated Montague as a mover-and-shaker, said he is very active in the community.
"Whether he is a member of the group or not, he is there whenever anyone needs help," Foust said.
Montague is the chairman of the Goliad Historical Commission, serves as president of the Goliad Chamber of Commerce, president of the Victoria Shrine Club and is active in several other clubs and associations in and outside of Goliad County.
Montague, 64, recalled that when he came to the community, Gleinser was one of his first friends in Goliad, and would later end up being Montague's role model.
"I'm not here to change things, I just want to keep them going. The last thing I want to do is change anything," Montague said. "I want to keep the past people's good work going."
Family: Wife, Darlene. Two children, son, Jason William, 38; daughter, Amanda Marie, 30; grandson, Jack William, 3; and granddaughter, Stella Louise, 1.
Who has been essential to your success?
From my earliest memories, my father and mother were very active in the community from the County Fair Board, Chamber of Commerce, Historical Commission to the VFW. After I retired and we moved into my wife's grandparents farm house, I began a daily routine of breakfast in town.
There I would see Harold Gleinser five days a week (before he retired) and, in time, we became very good friends. I looked to him as my "late-in-life" role model for Goliad because of all the different organizations he has been, and still is, involved with and the time he has devoted to the community in volunteer work. Without the support of my loving wife Darlene, who is always helping me, I wouldn't feel comfortable spending so much time away from home.
What do you say to someone who says they have no time to commit to volunteering or helping with charity organizations?
Of course family and work come first and at the present time in many families, there may be very little time to get involved. If that is the case, then bring your family to community activities and give your feedback, positive or negative, which will help to improve that event in the future. As time permits though, I believe that everyone owes a small portion of their time to their community, to promote it and keep its heritage alive and well for future generations to enjoy. Volunteering in any capacity is an enjoyable, rewarding experience. You won't regret it.
What are your biggest successes with the organizations you're involved in? What one goal do you still want to complete?
Working with the Chamber of Commerce: be helping to increase the Market Days attendance and income by about 40% over the last three years and seeing our Missions Tour De Goliad Bike Ride set a record enrollment this past fall. With the Historical Commission, it would be working with a dedicated group to preserve the rich history of Goliad. Working with Patsy Light to see her get three new Historical Markers approved this year for our county and assisting Myra Heard and Jimmie Dale Rader in organizing Christmas in Goliad. As the Victoria Shrine Club President, I enjoy the association and the work we do to support our two Texas Children's hospitals as well as the other twenty hospitals outside of Texas. The Victoria Shrine Club Fire Patrol is a great group that travels the state with our parade trucks to promote the hospitals. My membership and activities of the American Legion lets me help, in a small way, acknowledge and honor those who have served our country.
In the upcoming year I would like to see our Goliad Lodge become more outwardly involved in helping with community projects because it the oldest (1854) Masonic Lodge in continuous operation in the state of Texas.
What are some of the specific interests/areas that you strive to promote with your work?
I like to support groups that promote the greatness of Goliad, it's people, heritage, and small town ambiance. I want everyone who visits our community to come away with good and positive experiences. It takes volunteers to achieve this and I support the "we" factor of any function. There is never one individual that is responsible for making an activity successful. Every person that has input or actually physically works the function in any aspect should be credited for its success. Our family of dedicated volunteers make Goliad a truly great community.