Devin Riles is a quiet guy. He’s not the kind to consider himself a hero. He’s just not that kind of guy. He’s as unsung as can be. And you’ll never hear him sing even a quarter-note about himself. And his humble approach leads as well as any because you know, right away, that he’s kind and true. As the Irrigation Water Manager at Denver Botanic Gardens, Devin spends his days ensuring that our city’s beautiful downtown plant conservatory never gets too thirsty or drowns, never wastes and never fails. He gets things done. And he doesn’t complain or seek glory. He’s the anti-entitled, and a throwback of sorts to a bygone era when work was done because if it wasn’t, well, no one else was going to.
And when Brian Vogt, the CEO of the Botanic Gardens, introduced us to Devin our curiosities were piqued. Beyond his day job, Devin Riles works with Boy Scout Troop 444, Denver’s oldest troop. He is one of several parents who help guide the scouts and go the extra mile to ensure that their boys have a fun, educational and successful experience. Mr. Vogt knew of Devin’s contribution to the community and thought that with Beanstalk’s assistance, Devin and Troop 444 could do something great. But there was a small problem, the tiniest really. Devin was happy to do the work, to do something great for his scouts, but he wasn’t sure he should be the face of the challenge.
But, Devin had that glimmer, the one that we look for in our neighborhood leaders, the one that signals excellence and competence and accountability. He was loaded with potential. It just wasn’t a full on fire yet. And his idea for Troop 444 was a great one. The scouts needed to raise money for a new cook tent and a stove, an investment that would serve this group of boys and those for years to come. Devin went right to work. He assisted his scouts to get out and help raise the money needed for the new equipment. And while some of the money came from the community, through Beanstalk, Devin and the boys put in some work of their own collecting aluminum cans for recycling. Each boy was entrusted to turn in $3 worth of cans to make up the Troop’s portion.
He’d never say it himself, but Devin Riles’ contribution, his effort, his example, and leadership contributed to the Boy Scouts of America as a whole. With help from the Botanic Gardens and Beanstalk, Devin’s efforts taught the boys of Four-Four-Four a lesson in community, guiding them to their tent and stove, reminding them that together we can do pretty much anything. It’s true that sometimes the greatest heroes are the ones who don’t expect to answer the call, but do it anyway. Devin Riles is that kind of hero. And his humble, caring work means that Boy Scouts for years to come will have a place to cook, socialize and strengthen their characters while they test their skills in the wild. Devin showed them that leadership doesn’t need to be flashy to be effective. And hopefully, they will know that Devin’s contribution made a difference in their lives every time they set up camp at Wellington Lake, because we’ve seen his strength and leadership grow first hand. It’s real and it’s inspiring. Scout’s honor.