Kimberley lost Graham Mann last week.
Graham was a one of a kind man, an incredible volunteer and just one of the best people I have been honoured to meet.
Graham was a man who got things done, and fortunately for all of us in Kimberley, the things he got done made this city a better place.
I first met him when he was working — as a volunteer, of course — to get the first Garden View Village for seniors built in Kimberley. He was tireless in his efforts, and of course he got the job done.
Graham’s main passion, aside from his family, was Rotary. He was recognized for his work many times by Rotary and was a Paul Harris Fellow. The Fellowship is given to those who willingly, and without pay, offer themselves in service to the community. When he received his fourth Paul Harris award, he was described as “passionate about his cause, and compassionate for the people who benefit”.
Graham’s cause at that time was Shelterbox, which provides emergency shelter and supplies around the world to victims of natural disasters. In fact, Graham’s passion for Shelterbox was so intense, that while he headed up Sheterbox fundraising for the Kimberley Rotary Club, Kimberley gave the highest per capita of any city in Canada.
He also devoted much of the last few years in driving the Rotary Splash Park to completion. Another successful project.
How did he do it? With a smile. Always with a smile. He loved to talk, about anything, but it would eventually come back to assisting him with one of his causes, and how could you say no?
Short answer? You couldn’t. He was just too nice to turn down.
Kimberley Mayor Don McCormick said that Graham will be missed.
“I am deeply saddened by Grahams passing,” he said. “He worked tirelessly for Rotary and the United Church, and many other causes that needed volunteer support. He single handedly made Shelterbox a great success in Kimberley and region.
“I am proud to have worked along side Graham and to call him my friend. He was a unique character and will be missed by our entire community.”
Rotarian, and Kimberley City Councillor, Sandra Roberts, remembers Graham very fondly, likening him to the Energizer Bunny when it came to working for Rotary.
“He was ambitious, kind and inspirational,” she said. “He could outsell any Rotarian in the room when it came to ticket. He was an outside the box thinker. He had all kinds of ideas about promoting Rotary in the community. He wasn’t bound by old points of view. He accepted and encouraged women in Rotary.
“Even this spring, when we all knew he wasn’t well, he was still finding items for the Lobsterfest auction..
“Whatever the program was, he was there — the Splash Park, pancake breakfasts, Shelterbox. He was there.”
Our sincere condolences to Graham’s wife, Gerda, and his entire family.