Another family has come forward to support the fundraising campaign for the Penticton Regional Hospital expansion.
Over the years, the Vant Geloof family, who run Starline Enterprises, has done a lot of building in Penticton, and are no strangers to big projects like Cherry Lane Towers or their upcoming residential complex in south Penticton. But with a $250,000 donation to help provide medical equipment for the new Patient Care Tower, they’ve shown their support for the largest building project the area has ever seen.
Anthony and Joan Vant Geloof were both raised in Holland and met in Edmonton after immigrating separately to Canada in the mid-1950s. They have now been married for 60 years.
They soon built a new life, but not without some hard times along the way. For a while they lived in a converted chicken coop on a cousin’s farm. Anthony recalls how a neighbour offered to loan the family some money to buy a house of their own.
“I think that’s what changed the whole thing for us – a place to live decently,” he said. “That was the turning point for everybody.”
The Vant Geloofs’ business grew and they later moved to Langley, where they lived for almost 20 years before moving to Penticton in 1989. Today, Anthony and Joan Vant Geloof still work closely with their sons, Bill and John who are equal partners in the company.
And it was as a family they decided to support the PRH expansion.
Bill said the Vant Geloofs have experienced their share of heartbreaks and know how important access to premium healthcare is.
“In the spring of 1973 my little five-year-old sister died right in front of our house in Langley. She fell off a bike and hit her head,” Bill recalled.
Later, the infant child of his younger brother who lives on the Lower Mainland, passed away.
“So the children’s ward has been like a special place for our family,” Bill said. “We know what it’s like for other people to have to deal with that too.”
Janice Perrino, executive director of the SOS Medical Foundation, said this isn’t the first time the Vant Geloofs have gotten involved.
“They have been very generous over the years, they have supported every campaign we have done,” said Perrino. “They have just always been here for us and believe their role is to not only build our community with beautiful homes, but also to support our health care.”
The campaign has a goal of $20 million, and Perrino said they have just passed the $5-million mark. She explained that it isn’t only large donations like the Vant Geloofs that got them to that level.
“It is everybody, those who can give a small amount to those who can give a larger amount. And they are coming forward, it is amazing to watch it unfold,” said Perrino. “No one is ever to feel that their gift isn’t enough. It makes a difference and it moves us forward.”
Construction of the PRH expansion is set to start in the spring of 2016 and be completed by late 2019.