Four years ago today we lost a true hero. A dear friend & an incredible inspiration to so many, including me. @BenjaminCole changed our lives, teaching us what true, long-term sustainable change can look like & how hard yet important it is to effectively help people & the planet.
Cole & two other humanitarians, Chuck & Candy Ritzen, were on a plane that crashed off the shore of the Dominican Republic on their way back from delivering aid to hurricane-ravaged areas of #Haiti. I’ll never forget the moment I found out while in the @GlobalOkanagan newsroom.
I wasn’t fortunate enough to meet Chuck or Candy but during dear friend @sgraygoose’s bachelorette trip in 2016, we were blessed enough to visit the educational monkey jungle & zip line business they founded in DR to fund a on-site dental & medical clinic:
Cole’s tireless devotion to aiding people living in poverty in truly impactful ways, changed my life. He taught how it takes hard work, research & incredible thought to effectively help communities long term saying “there are many well-intentioned ppl who do more harm than good.”
I met Cole in 2012 on my 1st volunteer trip to #Haiti. To the left is what Ecole Union, the school he devoted his life to constructing & growing, looked like then (taken by Cole; he was also an incredible photographer). To the right is a more recent photo from @LiveDiff.
Among the last times I saw Cole in #Haiti he was thrilled to have just helped secure land to build a centre for trafficked children through what is called the “rest avec” system. Impoverished families give up their kids in hopes of a better life for them but they end up enslaved.
His vision for that centre continues to be pursued by @LiveDiff.

Here’s one of the latest updates from the Hamilton, Ontario-based charity on that work.

As soon as Cole learned of “rest avec” & how it exploits children, he knew he wanted to do something.

This was his dream.
In 2015/16 I filmed & produced a documentary for #ShawTV on @BenjaminCole’s work w/ @LiveDiff, his vision, his incredible insight & advice on how we can all use our individual skills & passion to be forces for good in this world

Here’s a link to that doc:
While talking to Cole for my film, I had no idea this would become the only documented video-graphed long-form interview with him.

This is among his most powerful quotes from it.

His words have and will continue to inspire generations of people around the world.
This was @BenjaminCole’s last #Instagram post & it sparked the creation of @LiveDiff’s #LoveLegacy in his honour.

This is the cause that’s closest to my heart & one I firmly stand behind.

Here’s more info & how you can support:

Thank you 🙏🏽 ❤️

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More from @NeetuGarcha

21 Aug
Good morning as we continue following #ChristieMountainWildfire developments. It’s estimated to be 2,000 hectares. There is less visible flame this AM than yest. Winds calm so far. More structural protection & firefighting resources coming today with strong wind gusts on the way.
With daylight, helicopters are now out collecting water from Skaha Lake as they continue to focus on the north flank of the #ChristieMountainWildfire. A reminder to everyone, officials are asking you to stay out of Skaha Lake as aerial crews do this critical work. @GlobalBC
Sounding like a broken record, I know, but seeing someone wakeboarding on Skaha Lake so close to where helicopters have been collecting water to fight the #ChristieMountainWildfire ahead of forecasted wind gusts warrants yet another reminder for everybody to stay out of this lake
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