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Kishi counts his blessings, each and every day

By Don Fennell

Published 4:15 PST, Wed November 13, 2019

Last Updated: 2:13 PDT, Wed May 12, 2021

Glenn Kishi is a disciple of The Golden Rule “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

At 63, the lifelong Richmondite has endured the breadth of life’s peaks and valleys, all the while maintaining an irresistible optimism.

“I guess my passion is simply being a good person,” he explains. “I look at myself as a great son, brother, husband, friend, father, grandfather, neighbour and community person—just doing things right.”

After a major health scare while on vacation a few years ago, Kishi never fails to count his blessings.

“I am fortunate to be alive. Every day is a blessing. I will continue to live each day the same way and try not to miss out on opportunities. Life is too short, so make the best of what you have and what you do with it.”

For Kishi, that includes continuing to raise much-needed funds for Feed-U-Cate 38, and help feed hungry kids in our schools. It’s a cause he initiated and that remains close to his heart.

Kishi has dedicated much of his life to education, the majority of that as a teacher and administrator in the Richmond School District. Before retiring, he wanted to do something to help students and staff. 

“I knew some schools were feeding hungry students in the morning and at lunch, who came to school without having anything to eat,” he says. “How could students learn when their stomachs were empty?” 

Knowing that all of these schools were doing this on their own with volunteers, and also raising funds to purchase the food, he concluded he could help by at least raising the money for the latter.

“I had done many fundraisers when I was in schools, so I knew this would be no problem,” he says. “I called a meeting of students, teachers and administrators and told them my plans. They all agreed this was a good idea.”

From there, a name, logo and plans to raise the funds were established. Kishi’s job was to get the word out
to the community, a responsibility he took seriously. The reality of the situation shocked many in the community, leading several groups and individuals to step up to help. But with the need continuing, the issue remains a priority.

Calling his parents his biggest role models, Kishi says they were great examples of how to be helpful and giving. Along the way, many teaching and coaching peers have also made a difference in his life.

“I hope that I am an extension of all their work put together,” he says.

His wife Dawna, of course, has a special place.

“She has been my rock through my most recent health issue, and I love her more than ever.”

Growing up, Kishi was always bigger than most of his friends—though by today’s standards that would be considered quite small. It ultimately led him to find a place in the sporting realm, for which he is forever grateful.

“I did not start playing any organized sport until Grade 4, when I started playing minor football,” he explains. ”(But) for me, being involved in team sports was the best thing. Playing on a team was important, and being a good teammate a key component. Team sports, when coached right, is the best thing for kids as long as it’s fun too.”

Good teachers, who made learning fun, inspired Kishi to pursue a career in education. It became more than simply a job, but an enjoyable and fulfilling career. Had he not become a teacher, he says, he’d likely have entered a trade where he would have built or fixed things.

Seeing the students he taught, or athletes he coached, grow into responsible adults brings great joy.

“They have great families, jobs and are giving back to the community in many ways,” he says, wishing they could all reside where they grew up. 

“Richmond was a great community to grow up and live in. I know it has change considerably since my childhood, but it is still a great place to live and raise your family. (But) you know, the world has changed. Steveston, and Richmond, used to be a small town where you didn’t have to lock your doors and you knew everyone. It would nice if home prices were at the level where our children could afford (it). This is a dream I have for my kids (Marissa and Nathan, and grandchildren Aiden and Brett).”

When he’s not spending time with family, Kishi is often out on the links. He enjoys playing golf because of his approach, one that helps him to relax.

“I enjoy the course, the companionship and the good shots during my round,” he says.

Ever the thinker, Kishi leaves the following thoughts to ponder:

“People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.”

That sums up the principles of a man who has dedicated his life to the service of others.

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