Dr. Eileen Tollett was named the 2022 recipient of the Allen Kiwanis Club Spirit of Community award.
Dr. Tollett moved to Allen in 1969 after marrying her husband, Bill, then an employee at Collins Radio. She immediately volunteered for the fledgling library when it was in the Woodmen of the World building on Main Street.
In 1975, Dr. Tollett served on the Library Board, and the following year she became the first woman to be elected to the Allen City Council. Dr. Tollett served on the Collin County Open Space Board during the 1980s when urban development was occurring at an accelerated rate. Her contributions eventually led to the preservation of over 800 acres, including the popular Trinity Trail, a 25-mile equestrian and hiking path. Dr. Tollett became a founding member and board president of Allen Community Outreach, an organization that has helped thousands of families. In 1994, she successfully led efforts to secure Allen's native forest along Rowlett Creek from destruction.
In addition to her volunteer efforts, Dr. Tollett taught anthropology at Collin County Community College and the University of Texas at Dallas. In addition, she worked for the American Literary Translator Association, founded to bridge cultural communication and understanding among countries and languages through the art and craft of literary translation.
Currently, Dr. Tollett serves on the Friends of the Allen Public Library Endowment Board of Managers, a board she cherishes because of the dedicated and talented members who give so much to Allen. As a board member of the Connemara Conservancy, she is proud of its irrigation system, the native grasses and wildflowers.
"I cannot think of a better example of an ideal candidate for this award," Allen mayor Ken Fulk emphasizes. "Eileen has served the community in many different capacities over the years, continuously, and has made a huge difference in our community, specifically our library, its services, and programs. She was involved when Allen had a small unofficial first library and was further involved in each stage of its evolution as it has grown into what it is today. She is now working as the Chair of the Steering Committee that is overseeing the design phase for a much needed expansion and renovations. She has also been extremely successful in her vocation and in the other organizations where she volunteers. "