It's hard to believe that 2016 is already behind us. While a rather severe winter hit the West Coast, it was much milder than normal back East. No Canadian hockey team won the Stanley Cup yet again, but there is always hope for this year. At least we had encouraging results in our financial markets.
This was a milestone year for me and for all of us at Thomas O'Neill and Associates. Earlier in the year I announced that Matti Allas and Jennifer Harris had become Partners in the Firm. Matti started with me in 2000 and Jennifer joined me in 2002. Their hard work, dedication and loyalty has been the biggest reason for my success, and that of our company, and I am extremely grateful to both of them.
On a personal note, last year I made some changes in my personal planning and in particular my estate planning. Working with my wills lawyer, Gil Korn, and Charlene Taylor of the VGH and UBC Hospital Foundation, I decided to make a significant contribution, through an irrevocable gift of Life Insurance, to the VGH and UBC Hospital Foundation. On Dec. 12th the Foundation held a very special evening in my honour where I was joined by family and friends. Half of my gift will go towards the VGH Trauma Program and the other half to the Skin Care Center at VGH. On our evening, Dr. Harvey Lui, head of the Skin Care Center, and Dr. Naisan Garraway, head of Trauma, made presentations and I also said a few words.
I count myself as one of the most fortunate people in the world having had some luck in business, but more importantly being surrounded by so many good friends and having met so many wonderful people along the way. And, for the most part, being blessed with exceptional health too.
However, over the past few years I have had a few health setbacks including a spiral fracture of my fibula and was also diagnosed and treated for skin cancer. While these are a rather insignificant in the world of health scares, it did give me pause that I am certainly not infallible nor indestructible. I was very grateful to receive exemplary care at VGH on these occasions while being an unexpected visitor to the trauma and skin care units. As a grateful patient I decided to make this gift to the Foundation. To everyone in the health care field who helped me, and who help thousands of British Columbian's every day, I say thanks!
I was extremely humbled that the Foundation named the exit to Laurel Street in my honour (Thomas O'Neill Way) and I dedicate this to my Father - Thomas O'Neill Sr. - who at the age of 23 took a chance to relocate his wife and young son to this great country of Canada. I am forever grateful.
Here are a few photos from the evening:
I encourage you to support your favourite charity!