Giving back to the community just comes naturally to Sue and Tom Kelly.
The Kaleden couple have mirrored their lengthy support of non-profit organizations by donating $30,000 to the South Okanagan Similkameen Medical Foundation’s campaign to provide medical equipment for the Penticton Regional Hospital expansion.
Sue worked for 32 years as a financial planner with Investors Group before retiring last year. Tom enjoyed a successful business career, being a co-owner of the former Canwood Furniture plant and then Timmins Street Storage in Penticton.
“We’ve both built our businesses here, so we like to give back to the community,” Sue said. “Both our boys were born at PRH and their grandmother passed away there.
“We are grateful to have a good hospital here, particularly at life’s most important moments. The medical foundation has been great to work with, enabling us to gift our donation over three years.”
Sue has long been involved in local charity work — serving for the past 10 years on the board to the Community Foundation of the South Okanagan/Similkameen, including five years as chair. She continues to serve as past-chair and the Kellys have a fund with the Community Foundation to which they contribute annually. She also served on the OSNS Child Development Centre board and chaired Kaleden Parks and Recreation, as well as the community’s Centennial Committee in 2009.
Sue grew up near the small town of Caledonia, Ontario and moved to the Okanagan in her 20s.
“I was driving across Canada and it was love at first sight,” she recalled. “I just knew this was home.”
Sue’s grandfather provided another link to the Valley, working on the construction of the Kettle Valley Railway more than a century ago. “I never knew him, but apparently he used to talk all the time that if he was only younger, he’d pick up roots and move to the Okanagan because he just loved it. So I think I was sort of fulfilling his dream.”
Sue later met Tom and moved to Kaleden where the couple have lived for the past 34 years. Tom was born in Montreal, before moving to Toronto and Vancouver during his school years, prior to settling in the Okanagan.
The SOS Medical Foundation has so far raised almost $14 million towards its $20-million goal. Construction of the new six-storey patient tower at PRH is well underway and should be ready for patients in 2019. Work will then begin on a major expansion of the hospital’s Emergency Department.