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Well-known advocate for Kelowna homeless population dies suddenly

Click to play video: 'Kelowna man collects donations to help feed and clothe homeless'
Kelowna man collects donations to help feed and clothe homeless
WATCH: It is hard to imagine--having to sleep outside in the snowy and frigid conditions. But that is the reality for dozens of people in Kelowna alone. – Dec 1, 2022

A Kelowna man who spent years doing what he could to show the local homeless population they were cared for has died.

John Thiessen, 60, had a fatal heart attack on Dec. 2, his wife wrote on his Facebook account this weekend.

“Funny, kind, caring, empathetic and talented to name a few of his qualities. We find comfort knowing he is no longer in pain,” she said.

“Hopefully someone will take over the much needed caring for the unhoused on the streets of Kelowna in his absence.”

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Just days earlier, on Thursday, Thiessen told Global News how he went about trying to help keep the city’s unhoused warm in the winter and cool in the summer for the last three years.

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The group he headed would go out every second or third night, depending on what donations they’d gathered.

“It’s not about me – it’s what we can do – it’s a grassroots movement from the people of Kelowna,” he said.

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Thiessen said helping people in a time of need gave him a purpose.

“What can I do to help others but yet to make me feel valued? I feel valued doing this and I feel like I have a purpose every day to make other people’s days better,” he said.

Thiessen brought many community members together, something he’s still doing even in death.

A number of people have gone to Thiessen’s social media pages to post about how he changed or affected their lives.

Some are heeding the call he made on social media day after day and pledging to carry on the work he started.

A memorial service will be held in January.

Click to play video: 'Community responds to plight of the homeless population in Kelowna'
Community responds to plight of the homeless population in Kelowna

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