Peter and Fran Beulah’s ties with Summerland’s heritage go back decades – in Fran’s case, all her life.
Now the couple have become significant donors to the South Okanagan Similkameen Medical Foundation’s campaign to equip the new Patient Care Tower at Penticton Regional Hospital.
Fran was born and raised in Summerland. Her father, Ted Atkinson founded Summerland Sweets in 1962. He served as reeve (mayor) of the municipality in the 1950s and sat on council for an incredible 18 years.
“He started Summerland Sweets as a retirement project. It’s been going 52 years now – we’re in our 53rd year,” she said.
Fran added that Summerland Sweets was originally launched as a Rotary project.
“He was working at the (Agricultural) Research Station and he developed a fruit candy recipe. They sold that and it was a great success,” she recalled.
Peter Beulah helped found Greenwood Forest Products in Penticton in 1983 and headed the company until his retirement in 2011.
“It’s one of the few lumber remanufacturers left in British Columbia. Most of them have gone due to the recession and the strength of the Canadian dollar for a number of years,” he said.
The Beulahs have pledged to donate $30,000 over five years to the SOS Medical Foundation’s campaign to supply all the medical equipment for the PRH tower.
“It’s a really good cause. We thought we should give something back to the community and the area. It’s kind of a no-brainer,” Peter said. “It’s pretty obvious that a good hospital, with state-of-the-art equipment, is essential.”
The couple have no doubt that Summerland residents consider PRH their hospital and pointed to the $1-million funding commitment announced earlier this year by the Summerland Health-Care Auxiliary.
“My Mom started the thrift shop here in Summerland years ago,” Fran said.
“It’s obvious that Summerland people have to be supportive of the new hospital and the new facility,” Peter added.
Construction of the new $325-million expansion at PRH will start in the spring of 2016 and be completed by late 2019.
As part of the overall project funding, the South Okanagan Similkameen Medical Foundation must raise $20 million for all the medical equipment in the new tower.
The tower will include new surgical rooms, 84 single-patient rooms, ambulatory care clinics and other facilities.