The first meeting of 2023 for the member's The Airdrie 100 Men Who Give a Damn, which will take place on Tuesday, January 24 will be both a momentous occasion for celebration, as well as a very poignant one.
(Video provided by Lowing Media - Freelance Multimedia Productions)
Keith Wilkinson, who recently passed away suddenly on January 2, was a beloved member and pillar of the Airdrie community, as well as a founding member of the organization. His life and his dedication to the community will be honoured, while simultaneously the organization is poised to surpass $250,000 dollars in donations to smaller-sized Airdrie and area non-profits.
Mike Reist, who is both a member of the organization and considered Wilkinson a dear friend, reflected on what the meeting will mean, not only to him but what it means to the community. Reist said that his good friend's passing has created a very large void in not only the group but also in the hearts of many.
"The community had been a better place since he was involved and he'll be sorely missed. To fill that void - it will take the whole community to fill it," he said.
When asked what would Wilkinson's reaction be to the quarter-of-a-million dollars raised and given back to the community, Reist said he believes that Wilkinson would remind everyone it was and always will be a team effort to not only raise money but to support local charities.
In recent weeks, since Wilkinson's passing Airdronians have been sharing stories of the man who many came to know as Mr. Airdrie. Reist was no different in this regard, saying that when his own father passed away, it was Wilkinson who was the first outside of Reist's immediate family to console Reist.
"He made sure that I was okay; he checked in with me. He got me out of the house and called me out when I said I was okay and I really wasn't," Reist said. "I'm forever grateful for that."
When the group meet's next week, there is no doubt Wilkinson's absence will be palpable, but it will also be a very sombre reminder of what the organization stands for.
"[We] just to make sure that no man left behind. I think that's probably one of the things that Keith and the other founders would make sure - that no one is left behind."
The 1861 Local Bar and Grill in Meadowbrook will be the host of this quarter's meeting (1861 Meadowbrook Dr, SE) with the meeting starting at 7:00 PM. Members and non-members who want to see what the group is all about are encouraged to attend and come early.
Send your news tips, story ideas, pictures, and videos to email@example.com