The third annual Rex Gill Memorial Ride will take place Saturday, Sept. 25 starting in Penticton with his mom hoping to raise triple the amount this time around.
“We are carrying on what Rex started in 2018,” said mom Marie Nobles. Also this year, the ride is in memory of two people.
Mike Courtney was returning home from Kelowna following last year’s memorial ride for Rex when his bike’s kickstand came out causing him to crash. Tragically, he died from his injuries.
“The last thing Mike said to me as he gave me a big hug was, ‘I love you momma and Rex would be so proud.’ So we are doing this ride for Rex and for Mike.”
The first year Rex’s family and friends did the ride in the bitter cold of November, just as Rex had done the ride in winter.
“Rex said ‘we ride in the cold for those that live in the cold,’” said Nobles. That year, he brought clothing and blankets to the Kelowna Gospel Mission.
Rex, 41, decided to do that ride for the homeless one month before he was killed at the Kamloops Comfort Inn and Suites on Jan. 23, 2019. Police believe his death is a case of mistaken identity in what appeared to be a targeted drug-trade shooting.
His murder remain unsolved.
Friends and family described Gill as a generous, caring man.
“You always had my back. You showed me what a real investment in people could turn into,” Travis Kruger, a former Penticton Indian Band councillor and a close friend of Gill wrote when he died.
Hundreds showed up to his funeral.
Nobles and her other son Art are determined to make an even bigger impact for the Gospel Mission and Penticton and Kelowna food banks as well as the Penticton Ooknakane Friendship Centre who has helped Nobles since day one.
“The Ooknakane Friendship Centre is my heart. I wouldn’t have made it through this without them,” she said.
There were only five riders the first year. Last year there were 34 riders. Each rider is asked to make a $5 donation to ride.
“Bring lots of money. Everyone is welcome,” said Nobles.
The ride will start with a breakfast by donation at the Penticton Friendship Centre on Ellis Street from 8:45 a.m. to 9:45 a.m.
At the centre Monty, from the Osoyoos Indian Band will drum them on their journey. The riders will then travel along Lakeshore Drive and onto Highway 97 to Kelowna, with a stop at the Gospel Mission and ending at Konquers in Kelowna at noon for a barbecue by donation and silent auction.
Many have given generous auction items including Konquer’s, Harley Davidson, Lordco, Napa Penticton Muffler, Cambo Beach at Tiki Shores, T-Bones and more.
Last year, $1,300 was donated to the Gospel Mission and $1,675 to the food banks. The Friendship Centre got $200 in donations as well.
This year, Nobles’ dream for Rex is to triple all those amounts donated.
Another way to contribute is to come out on Lakeshore Drive and cheer everyone on as they ride through. Donations can also be made the the Penticton Ooknakane Friendship Centre at 146 Ellis St. or phone 250-490-3504.
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