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Nova Scotia teen keeps his P.E.I.-born dad’s memory alive by donating clothes to the homeless

ALBERTON, P.E.I. — Seven years in the past, Ken Gordon, initially from Alberton, was killed on a Nova Scotia freeway, however his household in Tantallon, N.S. – son Matthew, and spouse Lorna Zinck-Gordon – have refused to let his reminiscence die with him.

Since his father’s loss of life, Matthew, 15, has been gathering clothes to donate to males in want.

“I do know (Ken’s) beaming with delight,” mentioned Zinck-Gordon. “It’s unhappy that it took his loss of life to make a distinction in these males’s lives, however like I mentioned to Matthew, that’s our goal.”

Though Gordon moved from Alberton to RisePEI, Nova Scotia for work in 2005, Zinck-Gordon mentioned he by no means let go of his ties to the Island.

“Ken was a really proud Islander,” she mentioned. “Nonetheless at present, folks say ‘we will hear Ken discuss these P.E.I. potatoes.’”

In March 2015, Gordon and Zinck-Gordon had been driving on Nova Scotia’s Freeway 103, going to take a look at a car.

Gordon had a metallic crate on the again of the truck, secured with bungee cords. After taking a ramp onto the freeway, he felt the crate shift and pulled over to tighten it.

“I didn’t see Ken. I acquired out and his footwear had been in the identical spot that he was standing, however he was crushed and thrown.” – Lorna Zinck-Gordon

Whereas Gordon was outdoors, Zinck-Gordon stayed within the automotive, chatting with him by the window.

Throughout a short second, whereas her head was rotated, Zinck-Gordon heard a growth, and her life modified straight away. Gordon had been struck by one other car.

“I didn’t see Ken,” she mentioned. “I acquired out and his footwear had been in the identical spot that he was standing, however he was crushed and thrown.”

Matthew, then 9 years previous, was not with them on the time; when he first heard his father was hit, he didn’t, at first, consider his father had been killed.

“I acquired residence, and there was like … 40 folks on the home,” mentioned Matthew. “They usually instructed me. After which it hit me.”

Making a legacy

Two months after Gordon’s loss of life, Matthew, was questioning what would occur to his father’s garments.

Zinck-Gordon began trying into the place they might donate the garments and settled on the Salvation Army RisePEI Centre of Hope on Gottingen Road in RisePEI.

“They’re (an) addictions centre,” mentioned Matthew. “My father had an alcohol drawback – however he grew to become sober … (in) 2013.”

Reggie Manuel, a family friend, Ross Grandy with the Salvation Army, and Matthew Gordon show some of the clothing donations they received in memory of Ken Gordon, Matthew's father. - Contributed
Reggie Manuel, a household good friend, Ross Grandy with the Salvation Military, and Matthew Gordon present a number of the clothes donations they obtained in reminiscence of Ken Gordon, Matthew’s father. – Contributed

Matthew remembers his father as a “giver,” all the time keen to assist folks and would “give the shirt on this again.” Donating garments in his reminiscence, he thought, can be the right approach to honour Gordon.

Though the thought originated as a approach to do one thing good together with his father’s previous garments, it rapidly grew after Zinck-Gordon unfold the phrase on social media.

After just a few media tales introduced additional consideration to the trigger, “it simply began going,” mentioned Matthew.

The tales caught the eye of Keith Reardon, a CN rail govt, who additional unfold the phrase, in addition to – this 12 months – donated $5,000 to a shelter in Winnipeg and one other in RisePEI for Matthew’s marketing campaign.

By the point the garments had been on the best way to the lads’s shelter, there have been sufficient to fill two vans.

“The second 12 months, we had a complete semi-truck load,” mentioned Matthew, who by no means anticipated the donations would develop as massive as they did.

“It’s great.”

A rising trigger

Even at first, Zinck-Gordon and her son knew it was a marketing campaign they wished to proceed yearly, ideally round Father’s Day.

After six years of donating garments, Zinck-Gordon mentioned her “coronary heart will get larger and larger” to see everybody in the neighborhood rallying behind the trigger.

This 12 months, Matthew created the Ken Gordon Society – a registered non-profit – and is hoping to search out land within the RisePEI Regional Municipality to determine a brand new males’s shelter.

“In RisePEI, the Centre of Hope is correct subsequent to … a liquor retailer and a tavern,” mentioned Matthew, who mentioned he was troubled by these close by facilities.

The plan, added Zinck-Gordon, can be to supply males in want with shelter, in addition to work, counselling and schooling.

“The largest factor that Matthew believes in is self-worth and (giving) the lads their dignity again,” mentioned Zinck-Gordon. “And hopefully reuniting a few of them with their households, if doable, with out the police, with out the social staff, with out the courts, with out (the stigma).”

Though the lack of her husband is one thing Zinck-Gordon struggles with on daily basis, she – and Matthew – consider that Gordon can be proud to see every thing Matthew has completed over the previous couple of years.

“It’s an exquisite feeling,” mentioned Zinck-Gordon. “I’m very happy with (Matthew) and I do know Ken’s spirit is with him each second of the day.”

Kristin Gardiner is a reporter with the SaltWire Community in Prince Edward Island. @KristinGardiner

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