A man who has, since day one, been dedicated to an event that supports equal living opportunities for individuals with developmental disabilities is being recognized.
Brian Johnston, owner of Vernon Dodge Jeep, is one of the founding supporters of the North Okanagan Community Life Society’s charity Golf Classic. His dedication has been repeated year-after-year, ever since that first year when he put a car up for auction in the event.
That has earned him the title of Good Guy of the Year.
“It’s not a chamber award, it’s nothing special, but it’s special to NOCLS,” said Garry Molitwenik, NOCLS executive director.
“He’s just a good ambassador, he’s a real champion.”
Johnston’s dedication to the event, which goes May 4 at the Vernon Golf and Country Club, stems from a personal desire to see the invaluable work that NOCLS does continue.
Just prior to that first golf event, Johnston’s business partner’s son had earned his driver’s license and had an accident that left him brain injured and in a wheelchair.
“To this day, he’s in assisted living,” said Johnston. “So to help people that are in that position is something that we wanted to do.”
NOCLS builds support around clients so that they can live in their own homes, versus group homes or segregated situations.
“We think that people should be able to live the same lives as you and I,” said Molitwenik, adding that keeping clients involved in the community and building relationships improves their quality of life.
“Without people like Garry and his team these people would be suffering,” said Johnston.
As a local business owner, another reason Johnston supports the NOCLS Golf Classic is through a desire to give back to the community.
And that giving spirit is something he credits to Tom Foord.
Kal Tire founder Foord, who was actually the seventh NOCLS Good Guy of the Year, is known for his outstanding community support of a number of charities and projects.
“It’s incumbent on businesses to give back,” said Johnston, adding that the Good Guy honour is one earned by his entire team at Vernon Dodge and the customers who support them.
Johnston encourages everyone to help support NOCLS at the annual charity Golf Classic, whether it’s through an auction item donation or by signing up for the event.
The event officially kicks off May 3 with a putting contest, barbecue and popular caddy auction. Among those volunteering as caddies are NDP leader Adrian Dix, CHBC’s Klaudia Ceglarz and MLA Eric Foster.
The official event, started by shot gun at 12:30 May 4, includes an auction at 6:30 p.m., dinner, awards and video presentation.
Registration per golfer is $200.
Anyone interested in registering or supporting the Golf Classic can call Wendy at Vernon Dodge Jeep at 250-545-2261 or Molitwenik at 250-545-5153 or email Garry.Molitwenik@nocls.com