Even the bears have benefited from Gordon Weese’s benevolence. This year his backyard orchard had such a bumper crop of apples, cherries and plums, he and his wife Lydia West couldn’t keep up with the picking. So the bears came down from the hills above their home near Kootenay Lake and did what bears do - help themselves.
The bears weren’t the only ones to enjoy the harvest: along with doing cupboard-loads of canning, Gordon and Lydia donated fruit to food banks in town. Their generosity isn’t limited to the growing season, though. Each week they buy groceries for a transition house for battered women in Nelson.
“Giving back to the community is important to me,” says Gordon. “There are lots of ways to make sure charities get the things they need. We both really enjoy doing that.”
A few years ago, Gordon decided to donate money he’d made through investments. Knowledge Network was one of the non-profit organizations he chose to support by making a gift to the Endowment Fund.
“I’ve been given so much in my life and there are so many things that have enriched it - including Knowledge.”
Gordon appreciates the fact that there are no commercials, and that it is a local, homegrown channel - owned by BCers, as it were, and focused on BC. He mentions Take Me Home as an example, a series of short Knowledge films where BC artists, athletes and personalities share what home means to them. To Gordon, home comes from a sense of community. It’s something he’s found - and helped create - in the many places he’s lived, including Zambia, where he spent two years teaching; and in a remote Nisga’a village in northwestern BC, where he taught high school for 20 years and where he met Lydia, a primary school teacher.
They retired to the Nelson area in 1995, and it was there that they started watching Knowledge. Gordon says he’s not sure when they’ve ever missed an episode of Heartbeat - that’s 20 years! They also love shows about travel, geography and other cultures, such as East is East, National Geographic Specials, Monster Quake and A Park for All Seasons.
“I feel privileged to be able to watch all these shows that are really wonderful,” says Gordon. “I do appreciate the entertainment; that’s partly why I give. But I think Knowledge is educating in the sense that it broadens your outlook about life, about people, and about the world. Another reason I give is to keep public broadcasting going - to keep it secure so that our children can see it and our grandchildren can see it. I surely hope that will happen.”