Nearly $1.4 million in bequests from the Dick Close estate have been given to the Pacific Rim Foundation and the Tofino General Hospital Foundation.
On Saturday, Pacific Rim Foundation, a scholarship fund for Ucluelet Secondary School students, received more than $1 million and the Tofino General Hospital Foundation (TGHF) received more than $375,000.
“What it means is we are able to continue the Dick Close Scholarship for a number of years,” said Gary Marks, president of Pacific Rim Foundation. “And hopefully our investment strategy will make that go even longer.”
Chair of the TGHF, Arlene McGinnis, said the generous contribution will help the Tofino hospital in numerous ways.
“We need to move very carefully. We don’t want to spend this money foolishly. We will be moving cautiously,” said McGinnis.
Richard (Dick) Close passed away on Feb. 24, 2016 at his home on Cox Bay in Tofino. He developed Weigh West Marina (now Tofino Resort and Marina), was instrumental in developing the Long Beach Golf Course, and was was active in creating the Tofino Salmon Enhancement Society.
McGinnis recalls working alongside Close to get a care facility built beside the hospital.
“It fell through which was quite a shame. Dick really cared deeply about the lack of support in our community for the sick and the elderly in need of extended care. Our whole group worked really hard to get something going. It was a long struggle but it didn’t pan out,” she said.
“From there on, Dick more or less let go. It was hard for him to sit back and see nothing happening. In his own quiet way, because he never wanted anyone to know what he was doing, he left the Foundation in his will and left us a wonderful amount of money.”
McGinnis hopes that, one day, the West Coast will have the care facility that Dick had fought for, or even get the entirely new hospital that the TGHF is pushing for.
“It’s a lot of money to try and come up with plans for the new hospital. And to work with VIHA and the ministry and try to encourage them to step up and help us out sooner than later,” she said. “We’ve been told for years that we are 10 on the list. And this has gone on and on for over 30 years. The hospital is getting old.”
McGinnis claims the emergency room is too small and the waiting room is too small.
“There is nowhere to expand,” she said.
Marks told the Westerly the Pacific Rim Foundation’s annual $40,000 Dick Close Scholarship is now in its 10th year.
“We’re obviously overwhelmed and quite humbled by Dick’s gifting this to the Pacific Rim Foundation. It’s a wonderful thing. It’s the biggest scholarship offered at USS. We are championing the education that students get,” he said.
Ucluelet’s Tyler Krueger received the scholastic honour last year. The 2018 recipient will be announced at the end of June.
“Dick believed in life-long learning. His intent was to create a wonderful opportunity for some qualified young person. We are carrying-on his mission,” said Marks.