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A plane representing a lifelong passion for flying from one of Vernon’s most successful entrepreneurs will find new wings as a training tool at Okanagan College.
Robert Foord along with family members, donated Tom Foord’s plane to the College’s Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (AME) program during a small ceremony at its Vernon Aerospace campus today.
Tom was the co-founder of Kal Tire, which grew from a small tire shop in Vernon to an international business.
“My dad loved flying and he loved this community,” says Robert, Kal Tire President and one of Tom’s five children.
“He also put enormous value on education and hands-on training and would be proud that his plane has been donated to the Aircraft Maintenance Engineer students for that very purpose.”
The keys to the Cessna 210G – Centurion plane were turned over to Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton and Okanagan College Foundation Executive Director Helen Jackman.
Hamilton thanked the Foord family and explained how the aircraft will provide new training opportunities while inspiring students.
“We know how important hands-on training is for students to solidify their learning and this plane will provide that. This Cessna also demonstrates to our students that the community supports their education. Tom Foord exemplified hard work, determination and community spirit. We hope his legacy of reaching for the sky inspires students,” says Hamilton.
“I want to express Okanagan College’s sincere gratitude to the Foord family for their continued support of trades training in the North Okanagan.”
In addition to the plane, Kal Tire donated $250,000 to Okanagan College’s Trades Training Centre in Vernon, which opened one year ago.
A decal in memory of Tom was placed on the plane and a plaque sharing his story will be on display in the training hangar.