Last week a picture of Kelly Kimmett appeared on the front page of the Eagle, golfing at GlenEagles in a tournament he organized with his wife Dianne, and others, to raise money for several worthwhile charities.
The photographer caught Kelly mid-swing, his golf shirt proclaiming him a “Monumental Dad.” Kelly is a monumental dad, and he and Dianne are also monumental citizens of sustainability in Cochrane. They live, work and play in this place we call home with commitment of community, hard work, generosity, kindness, hopefulness, and most of all, a demonstration of the resiliency of the human spirit.
Many readers may have recently heard of the Kimmett family, and may think that their community building work just started a few years ago. But, the Kimmetts have always been engaged and involved in Cochrane, although much of their work may have gone unnoticed in the past. The Kimmetts moved to Cochrane in 1986 with their two children Lindsay and Taylor, and opened a small pharmacy in the professional building in the east end on Main Street in 1989. Sometime around then, their third child, Reid, was born. Since then, Kelly and his family have owned and operated a pharmacy at three other locations, always staying close to the medical community and connected to the needs of the people. At some point, Kelly realized that this town needed a sales and rental place for medical equipment, like walkers and wheelchairs, so he provided these services as well. For many people who have lived here a long time, when pharmaceuticals or medical equipment are needed, we just say we are off to Kelly’s, and everyone knows exactly where we are going.
Small town living brings opportunities to share plenty of time with your neighbours, and I met Kelly at his first drugstore shortly after it opened in 1989. Dianne always stocked plenty of unique and “enchanting” gifts and children’s items in the drug store, and my kids both loved visits to Kelly’s. Especially on Christmas Light Up night: “Midnight Madness” when Kelly and Dianne served apple cider and treats until midnight.
As Taylor and my son grew up, they played sports together, and Kelly and Dianne became part of my family’s social network. Kelly coached minor hockey, and my son still says he was a great coach who taught him a lot about the game and made sure they all had fun. Dianne and I volunteered at schools and in other community events, and I always marvelled at her kindness and peaceful nature. Nothing seemed to get her down and no job was ever too small. During those years, Kelly donated to every charity possible, and even organized a few. I wondered how he did it all.
And, then, the tragedy. One day, on the way home with a girlfriend, Lindsay was in a car accident: In the blink of an eye, she was gone, forever.
Lindsay was in medical school at the time, involved in sports and hockey and many activities as she followed in the footsteps of her parents in lending spirit and hope wherever she went. In medical school, all medical students have nicknames, and Lindsay’s was “Monumental”. As Kelly says, “as time has dictated, that name has become symbolic of so many things.” Her medical class was deeply impacted by her loss and presented Kelly and Dianne and the boys with the “monumental” jerseys at the hockey game between medical classes held just a week after her death.
For many months, there was a silence around the Kimmetts: smiles would not come easily. Then, it seems like the Lindsay Leigh Kimmett Foundation set up in Lindsay’s memory gave Kelly and Dianne renewed strength. Soon, they were organizing pond hockey tournaments, donating benches and tables for public use at Mitford Park, and once again building community.
Just a while ago, the Kimmetts worked with Martin Parnell and brought the Kraft Celebration Tour to our town, along with a $25,000 grant to build a skating change house at Mitford Park for public use. Then, last weekend, the Kimmetts brought Cochrane to life in the Monumental Tournament of Aces, raising hope and many thousands of dollars for different charities.
They are generous, kind, hard-working, engaged, spontaneous and innovative, humble and conservative in how they go about their business. They demonstrate what it means to live sustainable lives, to be resilient, and always hopeful.
They are a monumental Cochrane family.