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Belleville business thanks youth with scoreboard donation


Mayor Neil Ellis stand with John and Evelyn Thibault after giving them thank-you hugs at Belleville council Monday night. The Thibaults donated $50,000 for a state of the art scoreboard for Mary-Anne Sills Park in Belleville. Photo by Jennifer Bowman

By Jennifer Bowman

A new scoreboard at Mary-Anne Sills Park is a big thank-you to youth from a local business.

John and Evelyn Thibault, owners of Collision Prevention Driving School, donated $50,000 to Belleville at city council Monday night for a new state of the art scoreboard for the park.

“When I looked into it and researched for it, I wanted the best for the best, and Belleville is the best, Belleville and area,” said John Thibault.

The Thibaults chose Mary-Anne Sills Park because it is the site of many high school sports and events. The scoreboard would serve many of their clients at the driving school.

“It’s our way of saying thank-you to the community, to the students. If it wasn’t for the students, we wouldn’t have our business,” said John Thibault.

John Thibault called Belleville city councilor Jack Miller about the project one day out of the blue. Originally the Thibaults wanted to put in lights for the park, but the city already had plans for that. They decided on the sign.

“I’ve never heard anybody so enthusiastic about a project,” said Miller.
Thibault’s enthusiasm lasted the whole way through, putting in many hours to find the best scoreboard. He said the biggest thing with all the extra research was his wife’s patience.

“Evy had to have the patience, number one. I had to be on the phone constantly with all different companies, emailing to them, the United States, getting prices,” Thibault said.

He also found people to donate the posts and the concrete.
“It’s something we want to do. We just want to give back,” said Thibault.
Thibault started the business sixteen years ago as a hobby when he retired as postmaster in Picton. They now have 14 instructors at the driving school and have seen up to 9,000 students.

“We’re not millionaires, but our company has done very well. Thanks to the kids of the past, thanks to the kids of the present, and of the future,” said Thibault.
There are four spaces for advertising on the sign. Thibault says he is going to push to find advertisers because he wants to keep involved.
“Once we’ve finished with that, then that’s it. If we can help the community in any way that we can once we’ve got ourselves settled and back on our feet, then we’d be more than glad to do that,”

Thibault will be ordering the scoreboard on Tuesday, hoping it will come in within six weeks.

The Thibaults have one simple wish in return.
“We’re hoping the kids and the parents will appreciate it, and that’s all,” said Evelyn Thibault.