Donor Stories

A Donor’s Story is a feature to our website in which donors share their personal experiences of Columbus Residence and what has motivated them to donate to us. If you are interested in learning more about donating to Columbus Residence or about our ongoing fundraising campaigns, please visit our DONATE page.


Ted & Gayle Hawthorne

Ted & Gayle Hawthorne

“We are truly blessed to have such a wonderful facility in our community!”

by Ted Hawthorne

I have been involved, at various levels, in the planning, construction, opening and operation of Columbus Residence, for a period of 37 years since its inception.

During that period of time, I have been a member, a director for at least 30 0f those years and it’s President for 5 years.  At all times, it has been an honour for me to be associated with Columbus Residence and its exceptional staff and volunteers.

Their service, dedication and commitment to our residents is second to none and it has always been that way and continues to be so today.  The ethos that drives Columbus Residence to be the standard of excellence in our community is, in my opinion, based upon the respect and professionalism of our staff and volunteers, each unto the other, which translates into the premium health care received by our most precious consideration, our residents.

My wife Gayle and I have also supported Columbus Residence as donors every year since the beginning and we will continue to do the same in the future as we are truly blessed to have such a wonderful facility in our community!

Needless to say, there is always a great need to support our residents and provide many of the extras which the Health Authority is unable to provide.  Columbus Residence has been exceedingly successful in accomplishing its many fundraising objectives from day one!  After so many years of successful operation, it is our view and our recommendation to any potential donor to consider the record of Columbus Residence as a leader in delivering premium health care to all of its residents…a proud fact indeed!


“The joy that comes from supporting such a wonderful, loving home.”

by Jacquie Julian

Donor's Story : Jacquie
Donor Jacquie Julian, with her mother Vera in 2009, continues to be a regular donor to Columbus Residence

My darling mother, Vera, lived at Columbus Residence for nearly eight years. Vera’s first choice of residence was Youville, another faith based home where she could live with some of her friends. Her social worker assured Vera that she would be able to transfer from Columbus as soon as a room became available. The wait was only six weeks but by this time Vera had fallen in love with Columbus Residence. She was so grateful for the many kindnesses and care that staff bestowed on her and other residents. Each time we visited, my husband Gordon and I experienced first-hand what Vera had told us regarding the loving care and kindness shown to all of the residents.

Jacquie Julian with Society Board Members Joan Stewart and Anne McElroy at our AGM in June 2012. Jacquie also supports Columbus Residence as a member of Columbus LTC Society.


We very much believe that supporting Columbus Residence by making contributions, of any amount, is hugely important. Gordon and I belong to the Columbus Long Term Care Society;visit when possible and support special functions; all of which help make a difference in the lives of many seniors.

We encourage all family members and friends to know the joy that comes from supporting such a wonderful, loving home.


“I offer this donation to honour the rich and abundant life that I share with my family and friends”

by Yvonne de Troyes

Yvonne's Donor Story
Donor Yvonne de Troyes (with her
mother Johanna) has given the gift of music
to our Special Care residents.

I had the good fortune of growing up in a family with a loving Oma (the name we use for our grandmothers in the Netherlands) and a mother that was inspired daily by music.

When my daughters were born I had a strong desire to train in a new field of work. I chose to study Therapeutic Recreation and was blessed with a rewarding career at Columbus Residence, to serve the Special Care residents.

I found this work to be both humbling, and spiritually fulfilling. Early on in my career I tried to do many creative programs, sometimes with results that made my coworkers and I laugh and cry all at the same time. We laughed at the delightful surprises and we cried at the raw human experiences and the reality of the journey that our residents and their families were on. I was especially intrigued by the profound responses that persons with dementia had to music. Upon reflection, I know that I had already learned about the joys of muisc in my own family and was now being reminded of this with my Columbus Residence family.

When I made the decision to retire, I wanted to offer a gift of thanks to the Special Care residents. I gave much thought to what I would like to have in return for my donation. After some consideration, it became very clear to me that I would like to offer the residents a weekly music program. In return, I could feel that I had carried on the fine traditions and values that I had brought from my own family.

Yvonne and Ted
Yvonne de Troyes receives recognition from Board
Chairman Ted Hawthorne for her 20 years of service
as a Recreation Therapist at Columbus Residence.

Now, my own dear Mom, Johanna, lives at another care facility where she is living with dementia, brain injury and peripheral vascular disease. She has many challenges and this has been a profound time of learning for she and I. We share the pleasures of music together and are bound together as mother and daughter who share their love for each other and of music.

I offer this donation yearly to honour the rich and abundant life that I share with my family and friends.

I encourage everyone to stop and think of how they can make their community a more loving place to live and to then choose a project to donate to that is very near to their heart.

Don’s Story

“This facility has been my favourite charitable organization.”

by Don Vallee

Donor Don
Donor Don Vallee shares his story about why
Columbus Residence is important to him

I have been a member of the Knights of Columbus since 1951 and the Knights of Columbus has now reached 129 years of service, mainly in charity, promoting unity and fraternity.

The Vancouver Council 1081 founded Columbus Residence 21 years ago. Many years of dedicated work and generous donations poured into the project well before the first resident admission in October 1990. The result was, and continues to be, fantastic!

To further support Columbus Residence, I joined the Columbus Long Term Care Society in 2003. As a member, I enjoy attending the Annual General Meeting where I am updated on the years’ activities as well as attending the special events where I have the opportunity to meet new people and visit old friends.

I can honestly say that this facility has been my favourite charitable organization over the years and I extend my very best wishes for the future.


“People like us can make it happen. We make the difference.”

by Philip Vechter

Donor Phil
Donor Philip Vechter shares his story about why his family has chosen to donate to Columbus Residence

In January 2009 my father, Charles Vechter, was on an emergency waiting list to enter a care home. He was living alone in his apartment in Vancouver. He was alone, sick and no longer able to take care of himself. The social worker told us we could expect to wait 30 to 60 days at best for my father to be placed in a facility. We were also told that my father could be sent anywhere in the Lower Mainland and that private accommodation could not be guaranteed; he would have to take what was first available.

And now the good news. Within a week, I received a telephone call from the Director of Care at Columbus Residence. I remember it clearly, it was a Friday afternoon and he asked for the family to bring our father in on Monday, but what really made an impression on me was his compassion and understanding over the phone. It was like this was their first resident.

I was not disappointed. From the moment Charles stepped into Columbus Residence he received the greatest of care.

Charles was given a private room with private bath and all of his needs were attended to on a 24 hour basis. Whether it was special medical attention, dental hygiene, baths, massages, setting up medical appointments, taking medication, or his spiritual, recreational and dietary needs; Charles received the very best service possible.

But one activity had a very special place in Charles’ heart. It was the “Mystery Drive” bus tours. He loved them and tried to participate on as many of the trips as possible. But he also had a concern and that was for the age and condition of the bus so he instructed his family to donate towards fulfilling his dream of a new bus for Columbus Residence.

We donated to the new bus fundraising campaign while Charles was alive and again after he passed away in October 2010.

Charles & Phil
Philip Vechter with his father, Charles at our annual Summer Social & BBQ

We all know that budgets get tighter and tighter every year in all aspects of publicly funded care homes. Whether it’s for a bus or equipment or other need, it is very important for families and friends of these facilities to step forward and contribute where possible.

People like us can make it happen – we make the difference.

Many thanks again to the awesome staff and volunteers of Columbus Residence. Each and every day you make the world a better place.