It’s challenging writing a story without a direct quote from the subject.
David Kampe doesn’t grant interviews or pose for photos. Press releases are all skillfully worded and approved in advance. The only photo the media has available is a black-and-white portrait taken while he was on holidays.
Yet everybody knows him in the community even though few have met him.
Described by those close to him as shy and “a man of few words,” David Kampe’s actions speak louder than words.
The owner of Peter Bros. Construction and Inland Contracting was voted the South Okanagan’s Newsmaker of the Year for 2016 by online readers and print customers of The Penticton Herald.
In April 2016, Kampe unexpectedly donated $3 million for a permanent MRI machine at Penticton Regional Hospital which was not part of the present PRH fundraising campaign.
Patients in the South Okanagan-Similkameen are currently serviced by a mobile MRI van, which is shared with communities in the Kootenays. It is stationed at PRH only two weeks each month.
The inclusion of a fixed MRI in Penticton will allow regional patients to have uninterrupted access to the machine.
MRI is the commonly used acronym for “magnetic resonance imaging” of body tissues which don’t show up in X-rays or other scans.
Dr. Stacey Piche, radiologist and medical director of medical imaging at PRH, said the impact of Kampe’s gift cannot be overstated.
“Getting the appropriate imaging examination in a timely fashion can be critical in making the correct diagnosis and initiating lifesaving treatment,” she said.
Piche added the fixed MRI particularly helps the most vulnerable, including cancer and stroke patients, and children.
Kampe has been the biggest booster in the community for the PRH expansion.
He previously donated property at Industrial Avenue and Camrose Street valued in 2011 at $1.5 million. In 2015 he donated $2 million directly towards the $20 million patient care tower project which presently sits at $12.5 million to date.
To date his contributions to Penticton Regional Hospital have eclipsed $6.5 million.
Penticton-based Peters Bros. Construction is among the top paving contractors in British Columbia. Although based in the Okanagan, the company performs work throughout the entire province. Peters Bros. has been previously recognized by the Ministry of Transportation with multiple awards for Excellence in Paving throughout B.C. Inland Contracting and Peters Bros.,were founded in the late 1970s and often employ more than 200 people province-wide, including Penticton.
Kampe’s philanthropy extends well beyond the hospital.
He continually sponsors the headlining artists at the Penticton Peach Festival, the annual grand parade, and the Snowbirds on years when they are available.
“David Kampe’s level of support is absolutely invaluable to the festival,” Peachfest president Don Kendall said, Sunday. “Since he’s become more involved over the past seven or eight years it’s taken the festival to a new level. He’s been instrumental in making Peachfest the largest free five-day festival in Canada. I can’t say enough about him.”
Headliners over the past several years have included Trooper, George Canyon, Honeymoon Suite, Chilliwack, and Emerson Drive.
The fact Peachfest is free, alcohol-free and a family oriented are reasons for Kampe’s continued support for the event, Kendall said. Kampe’s generosity has encouraged other local businesses to step forward and sponsor other events at the festival.
Peters Bros. is also active with the Penticton Vees junior A hockey team, paying for all children’s admissions for both the regular season and playoffs.
“Dave has meant so much to the Vees and the entire community,” Vees president and head coach Fred Harbinson said, Sunday.
“His contributions to allow local kids to enjoy Vees hockey these past few seasons have been a massive game changer to the atmosphere at the SOEC. Dave truly cares about Penticton and I appreciate all that he does for our community.”
Other significant contributions by Kampe in 2016 included replacement of aging computers, iPods and laptops at the OSNS Child and Youth Development Centre and a donation to KVR Middle School to purchase jackets for its girls’ basketball team.
Many of the other donations to other causes by Kampe remain anonymous.
Kampe received 53 per cent of the 901 votes cast in our 14th annual readership poll. Save Skaha Park and Nelson Meikle, both working independently of one another on community activism, were second with 29 per cent, and Penticton City Council third with 13 per cent. Five other nominees shared five per cent of the remaining votes.
The following is a list of previous Newsmakers of the Year:
• 2003: Mother Nature
• 2004: Save Penticton’s Agriculture from Division and Extinction
• 2005: Frank the Baggage Handler
• 2006: Jake Kimberley
• 2007: Kristi Richards
• 2008 Captain Jonathan Snyder
• 2009: Tom Siddon
• 2010: Duncan Keith
• 2011: Rita Chretien
• 2012: Adam Fitzpatrick
• 2013: John Vassilaki
• 2014: Elvena Slump
• 2015: Penticton City Council