More than $3,000 was raised at the Aug. 28 fundraiser for the Thomas Bennett memorial scholarship, bringing the total fund to more than $12,000.
"I am so very thankful for the support we've had from this community, from Tom's friends and from people who didn't even know him," Bennett's mom Mary Kenny said.
Bennett died on April 1, 2010 at the age of 26, while climbing Mount Shasta in California. He was an avid outdoorsman with a passion for engineering and sustainability. Through his efforts, the University of British Columbia (UBC) installed a new biodiesel fuel project on campus, something Bennett would have been proud of, had he seen the project completed, according to Kenny.
"He died before it was finished, but UBC unveiled a plaque in honour of him at the reactor site last December," Kenny said.
She has been working hard to raise money for a memorial scholarship fund to be set up in Bennett's name at UBC. The fund needs to reach $30,000 before the school will endow it and offer a yearly scholarship of $1,000 to a deserving engineering student.
The Aug. 28 fundraiser at the Lighthouse Pub was aptly held on what would have been Bennett's 28th birthday.
Kenny said the community came out in full force to support the fundraiser that saw almost 60 silent auction items donated and Bennett's favourite Tommy Thai burger served to more than 100 people.
Kenny was happy to have the support of the community on the difficult day. "We got underway just about the time that Tom would have been born. I was really happy to be really busy that day. It made it easier," she said.
Through silent auction sales, 50/50 tickets and anonymous donations, Kenny collected $3,100 on Aug. 28. "It was just really successful. Better than I had even thought," Kenny said.
The event puts the Thomas Bennett memorial scholarship fund up to $12,000, a full $2,000 more than Kenny had hoped for by summer's end. She says she can't thank people enough for their generosity. "Everyone gave what they could and then gave a little more," she said.
Kenny is planning future events to raise the remaining $18,000 needed for the scholarship fund. You can keep up to date with what is being planned at www.tomspirit.com.