REGINA – The city’s annual Crime Prevention Week wrapped up with a walk/run Saturday morning, which also acted as a memorial for a North Central community icon.
“This is a really special day, but it’s also a really bittersweet day,” said Sandy Wankel, executive director of the North Central Family Centre.
“He was here for 13 years, like 13 hours a day. My dad was always here,” said Will Amichand, Ivan’s son. “[The memorial] definitely means a lot. The centre was a second family to him, and he absolutely loved the kids here, and he loved these kinds of events.”
The NCFC has held the 5 km walk/run for five years. Many of this year’s participants remember the former social worker.
“Last year, I took a group of nursing students here and quickly formed an easy connection with Ivan. He’s a wonderful person,” said Jaime Mantesso.
Melvin Burton, a former NCFC volunteer with the centre, remembers Ivan’s support in a time of need.
“I was walking home one day, and I just got mugged across the street,” said Burton. “And I tried to talk to the police, but I’m all shook up and stuff like that, and Ivan had to talk to the police.”
Ivan’s impact was honoured with a memorial bench, and cherry tree, courtesy of Alliance Energy.
“The kids were really close to him. And they lost a real mentor when they lost Ivan, so. It means a lot to them, and it means a lot to us to help,” said Daryl Day, who works for Alliance Energy.
The event ended with a barbecue.
“He just gave so much of his time, and so much of his heart to the young people and the youth here. He was a father figure, he was a mentor, he was just many things to many people,” said Wankel.
To Will, Ivan was just dad.
“I can see why he spent so much time here, and why he’s so loved,” said Will. “Sometimes I wish he rubbed a little bit more on me.”