Kenny Bridge Citizen of the Year
Entrepreneur and philanthropist Kenny Bridge has been named by the Cranbrook and District Chamber of Commerce as the 2013 Citizen of the Year.
The chamber made the announcement Dec. 11 during a packed Christmas luncheon at the Heritage Inn.
“For many years Kenny has made an indelible mark on this community,” said chamber President Mike Adams.
“Ken’s involvement has supported nearly every charity event in this community,” he said, noting his summertime stroll in high heels through downtown Cranbrook in the Sam Steele Days Parade, in support of the Cranbrook Women’s Resource Centre and part of the International March to Stop Rape, Sexual Assault and Gender Violence.
Bridge was one of dozens of men who marched during the parade but was one of only three to dare to have hair torn off his legs to raise more support for the resource centre.
In their letter of nomination for Bridge, fellow leg waxers Derek Kortschaga of B-104 and Steve Mercandelli of Cranbrook Dodge noted, “Kenny continues to give even when times are tough. It’s easy to be generous when your coffers are overflowing, it takes a true, honest human being to give when times are tough.”
Cranbrook resident Rhiannon Chippett said the Bridge Interiors owner’s breadth of support makes him worthy of the honour of Citizen of the Year.
“I have personally seen his generosity at the Canadian Cancer Society Relay for Life, Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, and most recently at the local Celebrity Boxing Event which raised over $22,000 to help local community citizens in need.”
Former Cranbrook resident Rod Schween, president of the Jim Pattison Broadcast Group, said in a letter of nomination, “Many people talk the talk, but Kenny walks the walk. When someone is in need of a dunk tank, Kenny is there. When someone is needed to shave his head – Kenny is there. When someone is needed to step into a boxing ring for charity – Kenny is there.
“What sets Kenny apart is his willingness to go above and beyond the usual donation and make his involvement unique and special to the benefit of the charity.”
Cranbrook resident Lily Durham pointed out Bridge’s long-time support of the Royal Canadian Legion.
“Ken has also shown a great commitment to our Royal Canadian Legion and as a child of a Korean War veteran and previous member of the Branch 24 I know his continued ‘Wear Red Friday’ and ’11 for 11’ events have helped raise funding for a much needed program. Our Legion needed support and Ken came to their aid. He is a strong supporter of ‘giving back,’” she stated.
Rob Martin, past president of Legion Branch 24 said in the past six years Bridge has helped increase awareness of the Legion, veterans’ issues and memberships. He supports the Wear Red Friday promotion in support of our troops and donates barbecue time on Saturdays through the summer season, and allows the Legion to keep 100% of the funds raised.
Janice Sommerfeld, owner and operated or snapd East Kootenay, spends an enormous amount of time covering community events.
“We see Kenny Bridge at the majority of these events, whether it be in person or supporting it in kind. Some great examples that come to mind would be Kenny’s involvement in the recent Charity Boxing match or the Wax Off fundraisers. At both of these, a great saying coming from Kenny was, ‘It’s going to be great, but this is really going to hurt.’”
A glimpse at the causes Bridge has supported over the years:
Royal Canadian Legion;
Children’s Christmas Party;
Cranbrook Dodge Charity Golf Tournament;
Canadian Cancer Society Relay for Life;
The TELUS Walk to Cure Diabetes;
The Canucks Children’s Hospital;
Numerous other golf tournaments;
Walk a Mile in Her Shoes;
Celebrity boxing match.
Bridge was unable to attend the Wednesday chamber luncheon and will be officially recognized during the chamber’s inaugural meeting and Citizen of the Year dinner on Friday, January 24.