Trip in reminiscence of Rex Gill, shot to dying in a mistaken id, will span Penticton to Kelowna – Penticton Information
The second annual Ride in Memory of Rex Edward Gill takes place Saturday, Sept. 26, starting from the Ooknakane Friendship Centre in Penticton at 10:15 a.m.
The memorial ride is being held earlier this year than it was in 2019 so that Rex’s mom Marie Nobles can ride too.
“Last year, we did the ride at the end of November and at one point during the ride the temperature was -41 C with the windchill,” said his mom Marie. “I couldn’t ride in that cold last year, but I will be able to this year which is really important to me.”
“This was Rex’s dream to help others and so we are going to do this ride every year,” said Marie.
Rex, 41, of Penticton, was shot to death at the Kamloops Comfort Inn and Suites on Jan. 23, 2019. Police believe his death is a case of mistaken identity in what appeared to be a targeted drug-trade shooting.
Gill was a dedicated husband, father and friend, according to many people.
Just a month before he was killed, Rex put out a challenge to his friends on Facebook to ride with him to the Kelowna Gospel Mission to bring them donations of clothes.
He wrote on Dec. 4, 2018: “Ride in the cold to clothe those stuck in the cold. Whose hearts are warm enough to keep up to the Black Panther?”
The Black Panther is in reference to his beloved motorcycle. His brother Art has the same type of bike to honour his brother.
“This year I’m going to ride alongside Art. I want to ride alongside Rex’s bike like we used to,” said Marie who rode with her son Rex all the time.
This year’s memorial ride feels especially hard, said Marie.
“It wasn’t real last year. This year, I know he’s not coming home and I can never ride with him again,” said Marie. “My son was an exceptional human being. He always wanted to help people, especially veterans and seniors.”
The ride starts at the Friendship Centre and then onto Konquers Motorcycle in Kelowna where there will be a fundraising bbq and silent auction from 12:30 to 3 p.m.
So far, local businesses have been extremely generous with donating auction items from bike cleaning kits, beard trimmers to helmets and jackets and donations from NAPA, Lordco and more.
The ride is expected to bring around 40 to 50 riders. Covid-19 rules are in effect, said Marie.
“We have people coming from the Kootneys and the Coast to be part of this ride,” she said. “Rex touched so many lives.”
Neighbouring Gasoline Alley in Kelowna has allowed the riders to use their parking lot as well.
Everyone is welcome.
“Like Art said, ‘if you don’t have a bike, ride in a car, stick your head out the window if you want.”
The goal of the ride is to raise $3,000 for the Kelowna Food Bank and $3,000 for the Friendship Centre.
Last year, the memorial ride for Rex brought 80 bags of clothing donations to the Gospel Mission in Kelowna. Due to COVID 19, this year, they will only be accepting cash donations where new items will be purchased and donated.
The ride will begin with a by-donation breakfast at the Ooknakane Friendship Centre located at 146 Ellis St. Coffee and hot chocolate will be available. There will also be pigs in a blanket which is sausage in bannock, a delicious way to start the ride, said Marie.
The Ooknakane Friendship Centre meant a lot to Rex and now to his mom.
“I couldn’t have organized this without all their help and continued support in my healing.”
“They have been wonderful to me,” she said.
Join the ride Sept. 26 by 10:15 a.m. at the Friendship Centre, and drop off any donations by Sept. 25.