Keremeos lost a leading citizen and a stalwart supporter of the community with the passing of Joe Reichert on May 2.
Joe was actively involved in the local Elks Club and spearheaded the rodeo for more than three decades. He entertained policies that moved the town forward, demonstrating financial acumen, advocating local support and providing boosterism in everything he did.
But not too many people were aware of Joe’s contribution to the community – a contribution spanning almost 35 years, because Joe was seldom out front and centre.
Joe had limited mobility, for he was a quadriplegic. He had been since 1958, after being injured in an industrial accident.
Joe was, in his time, a multi-medal paralympic competitor. He raised a family, loved and was loved by his grandkids and grandchildren, and, largely in the background of village activties performed the work of two volunteers for many years, in his contributions to the Elks flagship event, the Keremeos Rodeo.
Not bad for a guy who had been confined to a wheelchair for most of his life.
Joe’s passing has left a legacy of community commitment and work ethic that this community may never see again.We believe his true value as a citizen of the village has not yet been fully felt, but in the coming weeks and months a true accounting of the man’s abilities will be revealed
Joe Reichert was also proof that community leadership isn’t always about making headlines. It can also be about working hard, working faithfully, working silently and working single mindedly to be a contributing member of the community. Perhaps of all the medals Joe had achieved for his sporting activities, it is this legacy that is most deserving of a “gold medal” recognition.