Looking to help victim of Kelowna rampage

Some Kelowna residents are trying to help the victim of a violent crime

A community driven effort is underway to help a Kelowna man whose life was irrevocably changed by a random assault just a year ago.

James Summers-­Gill was attacked April 1, 2016 by a mentally ill man on a violent rampage while walking his daughter to school through the downtown core.

RELATED: CRIME AND PUNISHING INJURY

During the nine-minute assault, his young daughter was forced to watch as her dad was pummeled and forever changed. Nobody stepped in to help back then, but there are people rallying around him now.

Heather Ormiston is part of a team that has organized a June 14 fundraiser that will include live music, a silent auction, a beer and burger special and hopefully lift some of the financial burden that’s weighing down Summers-Gill as he attempts to recover from the attack.

She is currently looking for auction items to raise money and is hoping business owners around Kelowna can help by donating items or services for the silent auction.

“James Summers-­Gill is a good man with little family and could really use help from the community,” Ormiston said, in a press release.

“If you would like to help by donating an item or gift certificate please contact me… With little financial assistance James treads water while trying to find a path forward.”

Summers-­Gill doesn’t bear the physical scars of his attack, but that doesn’t mean he’s OK. In fact, surface level normalcy is almost a disadvantage.

“I cry a lot. I get emotional easy,” he said, in an earlier interview with the Capital News.

He’s overwhelmed by the volume of tasks his brain has to sort through to do the simplest of things, like making coffee.

In the time since his injury he’s created plans that allow him to function, but if something goes awry it’s hard to recover.

He has a counsellor funded through victim services limited, but there’s been little to help with the life expenses that have piled up since the incident.

He didn’t have a job at the time, so he can’t get any wage loss supplement. Also, it will take a couple of years before it’s clear whether his brain injury is permanent, so he can’t get any assistance from that. He could get social assistance, but then he’d lose his rental assistance. While he treads water, he’s having a hard time finding a path forward let alone pay the bills that are stacking up.

“The attitude of service providers is, ‘if you don’t come to us we’re not coming to you,’” he said.

Trouble is, he doesn’t know where to go because he’s starting life anew.

“People think, ‘oh, he looks normal,’ so I must be high-functioning,” he said. “The less normal I look the more help I’d get, but then you get treated like that and I’m never going to get any help in that way.”

If you can chip in to help, call (250) 826­-3409 to reach Ormiston or Mark Greenhalgh at 250-463­-3110, Andy Bowie at 250-859­-2639 or Brad Krauza at 250-899-­2112.

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