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Big donor to PRH

John Pankiw, president of the Cantex group of companies, has $100,000 to the new patient care tower at Penticton Regional Hospital.

Pankiw made the big donation to the South Okanagan Similkameen Medical Foundation’s campaign to supply the medical equipment for the PRH expansion.

Pankiw founded Cantex in 1971. The company mainly concentrates on heavy construction and mining services, but is also involved in aggregates, paving and real estate.

Although he retired in 2006, Pankiw remains as company president. 

“It has been a fun trip,” he said. “Not without its challenges, but at the same time there’s a lot of satisfaction.”

He is confident the foundation will reach its $20‐million campaign goal.

“I find Penticton to be a very generous community. We’re known for our volunteers, and that’s just another form of generosity.”

Pankiw is also a member of the Penticton Rotary Club, which also intends to contribute to the PRH campaign.

This is not the first time Pankiw has made a major donation for the community. He previously donated $100,000 to Okanagan College’s fundraising campaign which spawned the Jim Pattison Centre of Excellence at the Penticton campus.

“I consider both the hospital and the college to be very significant entities in the community,” he said. “So I thought they were very worthwhile causes to contribute to.”

Construction of the new tower at PRH is set to get underway in the spring of 2016. 


Space Centre Storage is putting its best foot forward for a charitable cause. The Kelowna storage facility is partnering with Soles4Souls, an organization that collects new and used shoes and redistributes them to needy people in developing nations. Using their MI-BOX® mobile storage units, Space Centre will act as a central collecting point for donations in BC.

Bob Laird, General Manager of Space Centre Storage, is thrilled to be a part of the program. 

“We just want to help people. We want to become really involved here,” says Laird, noting it’s going to take a team effort to make it work. “We’re new to this. We’re going to have to all become involved.

“It’s an ongoing endeavour. We’ll support the program as it goes.”

Space Centre Storage is donating the use of four of its MI-BOX mobile storage units to the cause. These portable storage containers, which measure seven-foot-two-inches wide, eight feet tall and 16 feet long, will provide storage space for any donations that come their way.

Once the MI-BOX® containers are full, they’ll be shipped to a national collection centre in Toronto in a 53-foot container that holds approximately 30,000 shoes. There, the footwear will be sorted and sent to people all over the world.

Founded in Nashville, Tenn. in 2006, Soles4Souls has distributed more than 22 million pairs of shoes to people in need in more than 127 countries.

All of the staff at Space Centre Storage welcomes anyone to come by the office (3530 Alcan Road) to make a donation during business hours (8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m on Sundays and holidays). They have one of the mobile storage units set up right at the front office.

“It could be used, new, high heels, soccer boots—any kind of footwear,” says Laird. “That’s one of the reasons they have a sorting centre. There’s no sense in sending snow boots to Africa.”

Laird credits Kelowna’s Lesley Brydon, a well-meaning shoe aficionado, for getting the Space Centre Storage involved in the Soles4Souls program. Brydon, whose family has been donating its excess footwear to the charity for the past several years, approached Laird with the idea of donating space.

“She was looking for storage space,” says Laird. “We were prepared to do more than that. Not only are we going to take drop-offs from Kelowna, we might get truckloads from anywhere in BC.”

Brydon, a paralegal, originally intended to use her property as the collection point, however, she quickly realized it would be insufficient given the scale of the program. She’s extremely grateful that Space Centre Storage stepped up.

“They (Soles4Souls) needed someone to spearhead the collection, and I knew I could do this,” says Brydon. “Now we’re on this journey together. We both feel we have a need to give back to third-world countries.”

A self-confessed shoe admirer, Brydon says her new role as a Soles4Souls shoe ambassador is only fitting. She believes it’ll suit other people as well because it’s such a simple way to support a charitable organization.

“It’s an easy way to give back,” she says. “I am comfortable in this role as I am not asking people for money. Everyone has old shoes they can get rid of.”

Brydon has set up a Facebook page for Soles4Souls–Kelowna, and she plans on approaching local schools to see if they’ll organize shoe collections. If anyone has a donation, or wishes to host a donation box at their business or school, please contact Brydon by calling 604-612-1649.

She has also organized for a MI-BOX to be on hand at Ghoulish Gala, a Halloween fundraising event for Swinging with the Stars in support of the Central Okanagan Hospice Association. It’ll be held on Friday, Oct. 30 at the Okanagan Mission Community Hall (aka The Red Barn). Shoe donations will be accepted between 11 a.m. and 11 p.m. on that day. To purchase tickets for the gala, please contact Brydon.

New Artistic Director

The Kelowna Community Music School (KCMS) is pleased to Welcome Graham Vink as Artistic Director this Fall. Graham comes to us with a wealth of experience and is looking forward to working with the faculty and meeting the students and parents of our school.

Graham has a Bachelor of Music with Distinction in Piano Performance from the University of Calgary and a Masters of Music in Piano Performance from the University of Toronto. While at U of T, Graham studied with the well-known Dr. Jamie Parker.

Graham keeps very busy with all of his music endeavours. He is a concert reviewer for the Kelowna Daily Courier and The Capital News. He has been a member of the Board of the Kelowna Kiwanis Music Festival and Registered Music Teachers Association and was Host Chairperson of the 2014 National Music Festival held in Kelowna. Graham also worked with Opera Kelowna last summer. Prior to his new position at KCMS, Graham was the accompanist for the Festival Singers and the First United Church.

Graham currently teaches 46 students, accompanies the Celebration Singers and is the musical director and accompanist of the Musical Actors and Singers of Kelowna (MASK). He also keeps very busy as a piano accompanist for voice and instrumentalists for music festivals and events throughout the Okanagan.

Graham says he likes to work with people to collaborate and bring visions to fruition. His main goal in his new position as Artistic Director is to spend time building relationships with his colleagues. He plans to meet one-on-one with each person to get their input. He would like to focus on our existing facilities in the hope to actualize our true vision. 

We are very happy to have Graham come on board. Graham will also be teaching piano at KCMS. We welcome him to the KCMS family!

AED donation to PENSAR

Penticton and District Search and Rescue is the recent recipient of some new life-saving equipment.

Scott Pittendreigh, medical co-ordinator for PENSAR, said two Automated External Defibrillators were recently donated to the team by MediQuest Technologies.

This will allow PENSAR to have AEDs in all of their response units, he said.

"It's just a wonderful piece of equipment that has proven to save lives everywhere it has been deployed and we are so grateful to MediQuest from North Vancouver," he said.

Chris Metcallfe of MediQuest says the company recognizes that PENSAR is an all volunteer organization which depends on community and corporate contributions to make it effective. 

“Although the two units have been deployed previously they are unique in that they have no end-of-life date because of their ability to be upgraded by software changes," he said. "As an organization we are happy to help out." 

Pittendreigh advises that most of PENSAR’s volunteers are trained first responders who hold both AED and spinal endorsements to treat subjects.

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