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PHOTOS: Jerome Abraham – we remember

The guidelines say reporters aren't supposed to let personal biases impact their stories.

<who>Photo Credit: NowMedia/Gord Goble</who>

But to heck with those guidelines for these next few paragraphs.

Friday, one of Penticton's modern-day treasures left us. And it sucks. Big time.

<who>Photo Credit: NowMedia/Gord Goble</who> Father's Day celebration (Jerome second from right)

He hadn’t even reached his 50s. It's not fair.

But Jerome Abraham is with us no more.

<who>Photo Credit: NowMedia/Gord Goble</who> In the Edna St. kitchen

The much-loved head of justifiably renowned mens' recovery program Discovery House, a guy who wore his allegiances on his sleeve and did everything he could to make sure the program he cherished was funded and expanding and running smoothly, finally succumbed to the cancer that had plagued him for so long.

<who>Photo Credit: NowMedia/Gord Goble</who> Chatting with Penticton councillor Isaac Gilbert

When this reporter moved to the Okanagan a few years ago, Jerome was one of the first people we got to know in our position with PentictonNow.

We were lucky.

<who>Photo Credit: NowMedia/Gord Goble</who> Blaine Russell (left), Jerome Abraham celebrate new house on Edna Ave.

Like the old expression goes, he was one of the good ones. And a true gem for Discovery House.

He was one of those guys who didn’t quit at quitting time. He'd call up after hours, maybe even on the weekend, to make sure we knew the latest Discovery development or were coming to the next event.

<who>Photo Credit: NowMedia/Gord Goble</who> Getting dunked

And there were many. Father's Day celebrations, Christmas light-up celebrations, golf tournaments, cheque presentations, grand openings and even events based on the making and the selling of soup.

Indeed, the 2024 edition of "Soup is Good Food" is on right now.

<who>Photo Credit: NowMedia/Gord Goble</who> Cooking soup (Jerome far right)

In an institution that relies heavily on fundraising and then keeping those donors happy, Jerome was as skilled as they come.

In 2023, his illness forced him to back away from his day to day duties. In his place, solid guys like Operations Manager Blaine Russell and more recently Fundraising Coordinator Richard Thompson, both also former clients, have stepped up to the plate.

<who>Photo Credit: NowMedia/Gord Goble</who> Accepting cheque from big donor Parker's Chrysler

Yet Jerome wasn’t out of the picture. He continued to lend an ear from the sidelines.

But our experience with him goes a wee bit beyond business. We remember sitting down with him for a half hour a couple years ago at Gyro Park after some sort of event where he was, of course, promoting Discovery House.

<who>Photo Credit: NowMedia/Gord Goble</who> Discovery House Light-Up (Jerome fourth from left)

Like always.

We chatted and laughed – he was very good at both – and then we exchanged health stories. His were significantly more powerful. But here's the thing. He preferred listening and advising and making us genuinely feel better than complaining about his own situation.

<who>Photo Credit: NowMedia/Gord Goble</who>

We came away from the event not even knowing the extent of his troubles.

That takes a (very) special dude.

<who>Photo Credit: NowMedia/Gord Goble</who> Looking dapper on Winnipeg St steps

There's currently a tribute to Jerome at the Discovery House Facebook page. There are 300-plus reactions to date.

We wanted to reprint it here. It follows:

<who>Photo Credit: NowMedia/Gord Goble</who> More Edna St. celebrations (Jerome far left)

"Discovery House, the South Okanagan recovery community, and our world has lost a courageous and bright light. Our friend, Jerome, has completed this part of his journey, and his body has surrendered after several years of living with cancer.

"He tirelessly led our organization and touched the lives of countless individuals looking to break free from the shackles of addiction. Jerome was a true warrior in his own recovery journey, in his guidance for those looking to better their lives, and in his fight to eliminate the stigma of addiction so prevalent in our society.

<who>Photo Credit: NowMedia/Gord Goble</who> Chatting with the previous mayor

"Discovery House, our staff, our clients, and all of those who this organization has helped are better because of Jerome and his works. Thank you, Jerome. We love you brother, and we will do our best to give to others what you so generously gave to us."

<who>Photo Credit: NowMedia/Gord Goble</who>

Amen.



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