Men who give a damn

Ryan Donn

This year has been an amazing year, but I have to confess that it has also brought more tears than I was ready for, when I tragically lost two friends. I find them on my mind almost daily - my boss at Castanet, Trevor Rockliffe, and Rene Bourgault (someone I call the leader of leaders). 

It is always tough to understand, in a tangible way, what friendship is, and how it evolves in your life when you are balancing family, career, social responsibilities. Both of these men stand up as honourable folks who did what they could to make Kelowna a better place, and I had the honour of getting to know both of them.

Losing two friends has continually reminded me to ask myself those core questions: 

What is important? What is my purpose in this life? Am I seizing the day? Am I doing all I can? Am I the best I can be? Am I the dad I always thought I would be? Am I the husband who supports, loves and empowers his wife? 

Well, you get the point. Perhaps that is the real question: What is the point?

My parents came here as missionaries, but I rarely go to church these days. Yet, if I look at what drives me, I think the values that I learned in church drive a lot of what I do. The simple truth found in the ‘Golden Rule’ is one heck of a plumb-line upon which to judge your actions.

"Treat those around you the way you want to be treated.”

How can I value every human being I meet, though? How can I display servant leadership? I could go on and on, but let me get to the point of this column. There are so many who are needy in our community, and so many non-profits, so how do we actually make an impact? I hope to answer that.

There are over 200 men in Kelowna who have committed to giving $100 every three months to a local charity. We meet up, have a beer, watch three presentations by local deserving initiatives, vote on the one that hits home to us, and then each of us gives $100. 

For the first event, we raised over $16K. Rene was there, and he closes out the video (using the skills that Trevor encouraged me to build). He asks one simple question, an idea he came up with the idea on the fly.

"Why aren't you here? Don’t you give a damn?"

It %$*#@# sucks that Rene is no longer here to rally the troops, but sure as hell, if tragedy hadn't struck, he would be there laughing it up and harassing you to give what you can. 

Women, if you want to support this movement, send your man with a blank cheque on November 4th. If you want to do something similar, there is a local initiative run by Rose Sexsmith, called ‘100 Women Who Care’. I’m sure they would love your support: http://www.castanet.net/news/What-s-On/121829/100-Women-Who-Care

Guys, sign up here: http://100menkelowna.com/

Give a damn! 


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About the Author

Ryan Donn is a singer/songwriter, event producer, digital creative, and Councillor at the City of Kelowna

I love creating songs, which have been used by the Terry Fox Run, Kelowna’s Centennial Celebration, or heard on various local radio stations. 

In the past few years, I've focused on creating community events including Music in the Park, New York New Years, Castanet’s Free Family Skate, Talented Kids, Talented Kelowna, and others.

Originally from Scotland, I’ve lived in Kelowna for over 20 years. My wife, Kimberly, and our two daughters, Lyla and Bella, share our home with Tom (adult with diverse abilities).

In 2014, I was elected to Kelowna City Council. 

Opinions are my own, and don't represent the City of Kelowna, Festivals Kelowna or Creative Okanagan. 

To connect with Ryan:

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The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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