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How Penticton came to the aid of a local senior down on his luck

Penticton residents are rallying to Penticton senior Bob Richards after hearing his story of perseverance.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Keep The Cold Off Penticton Society
February 18, 2021 - 7:00 AM

A Penticton man down on his luck is getting back on his feet following some community goodwill.

Bob Richards was seen picking through Penticton alleys looking for recycling bottles and cans last Monday night when 'Keep the Cold off Penticton' members Mike Forster and Kristyn Trickey saw him and reached out to him.

The two provide a mobile outreach service to Penticton’s homeless, in addition to other services.

Richards told the two he wasn't homeless, or in need of food but still had a story to tell of some personal misfortunes of late that resulted in his making the rounds for recyclables.

After hearing his story, Mike and Kristyn took to the internet in an effort to provide some assistance, and in a single day raised nearly $8,000 for Richards. The effort is continuing through a GoFundMe page set up for the 77-year-old Penticton man.

Bob's story, as he told it, was also posted to the Keep The Cold Off Penticton Facebook page.

Richards has had a few bad years – actually, more than a few. He was once an active Ironman participant until 2000 when his wife contracted multiple sclerosis.

After some costly financial expenditures to renovate the house for his wife and buy a new van outfitted to handle her condition, Richards suffered a herniated disc that caused him constant pain.

After a fellow worker committed suicide in the mid-2000s, Richard took the worker's family, who lived in Oliver, under his wing. He provided help for the family while working 12-hour shifts as a night watchman, in addition to continuing to care for his wife.

Richards says he took out "a huge loan" in 2010 to help the Oliver family by buying them a mobile home in Penticton.

They lived in it until 2014, but upon moving out, Richards found the place trashed and he had to give it away and absorb a debt worth thousands of dollars.

His wife has since been placed in a care facility.

He says he's making progress on credit line debt payments but still owes $93,000, in addition to paying a $518 monthly mortgage of his own.

“Bound and determined, I'll get back on my feet without financial stress,” he said.

Forster and Trickey have arranged to have those wishing to help Richards with his remaining debt by dropping off recyclable bottle and can donations to his residence at 114 Ayres Crescent in Penticton.

Financial donations can also be made to Bob Richards' GoFundMe page.


To contact a reporter for this story, email Steve Arstad or call 250-488-3065 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to tips@infonews.ca and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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