A co-founder of what began as a single service station in Vernon has taken flight with those humble beginnings and given his wings to Vernon’s Okanagan College (OC).
Robert Foord the son of Kal Tire co-founder Tom Foor has donated, alongside family members, his father’s plane to the college’s Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (AME) program.
Tom helped blossom Kal Tire from a small tire shop in Vernon to an international behemoth.
“My dad loved flying and he loved this community,” said Robert, one of Tom’s five children and current Kal Tire president. “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 plane is a Cessna 210G Centurion. The keys were handed over to OC President Jim Hamilton and OC Foundation executive director Helen Jackman during a ceremony at Vernon’s Aerospace campus in 2019.
“We know how important hands-on training is for students to solidify their learning and this plane will provide that,” said Hamilton. “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.”
In addition to the plane, Kal Tire donated $250,000 to OC’s Trades Training Centre in Vernon, which opened in 2018.
“I want to express Okanagan College’s sincere gratitude to the Foord family for their continued support of trades training in the North Okanagan,” said Hamilton.
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.