A B.C. man who was the innocent victim of a gangland shooting three years ago is being honoured at the hospital where he worked, thanks to an anonymous donation.
Paul Bennett worked as an operating room nurse at White Rock’s Peace Arch Hospital, before he was fatally shot in his Cloverdale driveway in June 2018.
Police say his murder was a case of mistaken identity.
Now, thanks to a quarter-million dollar donation from a former patient, the hospital is adding a new staff lounge that will bear his name as a part of a major expansion.
“(I’m) overwhelmed that someone would think so much of Paul, and have such gratitude that they would do such a wonderful thing,” Bennett’s widow Darlene said.
“I know he loved working here at Peace Arch, it was his other home.”
Making the donation even more special is the way it came about.
Stephanie Beck, executive director of the Peace Arch Hospital Foundation, said the anonymous donor was a former patient of Bennett’s during a medical procedure several years ago.
Over the course of his stay and other visits to the hospital, he and Bennett formed a connection, she said.
“That often happens in a community setting like this where we have a lot of wonderful staff who’ve been with us for a number of years, and you really get to know them,” she said.
“I think the tragedy that befell the Bennett family really touched this particular donor, and they wanted to make a tribute in their own way to honour Paul’s memory going forward.”
The new lounge is being added as a part of an expansion including a redeveloped emergency room, expanded surgical suites and new medical device reprocessing unit, Beck said.
The staff lounge, which will include a private washroom, kitchenette and seating area will be a major improvement on the current facility, she said.
The upgrades are slated to be in service by November.
“I am eternally grateful. My kids will see the legacy of their dad carry on,” Darlene said.
“I tear up every time I think of it. I wish he was here, but this is a wonderful gift. A memory.”