The passing of Cochrane Eagle founder Jack Tennant last month has left a giant hole in the Cochrane community – one that his friends are looking to fill by honouring the community giant in a big way.
When Kelly Kimmett learned of the death of his late friend, he knew it would take something pretty significant to honour the man who gave a hand up to so many.
That is where Kimmett, owner of Two Pharmacy and community leader through the Kimmett Foundation, thought rather than the usual naming of a park or putting up a plaque, Jack’s memory would best be served through the recognition of his work with the nearby Stoney-Nakoda people of Morley.
And so the idea of renaming the stretch of Highway 1A connecting Cochrane to Morley “Jack Tennant (Tataga Tawachi Thnigan) Trail” was born, for “no one did more to bring the two communities at each of that curvy asphalt together more than Jack.”
In honour of the Stoney people who Tennant was so connected to, his name “Giant Gentle Buffalo” would be included in Stoney language.
“His memory needs to be preserved somehow … you can name a street or a playground, but he was so much more than that,” explained Kimmett. “Then you would be driving on Jack’s road.”
Kimmett is awaiting further direction from Banff-Cochrane MLA Cam Westhead as to next steps with Alberta Transportation to rename the highway.
Friend, philanthropist and retired professional wrestler Dan Kroffat couldn’t agree more.
Without knowing what Kimmett had been up to, Kroffat had already kick started discussions with the town on the range of possibilities to honour Jack for the many ways he gave back to children, veterans, animals and the Cochrane community in general.
“Kelly and I had been coming at this from a different angle but with the same intention,” said Kroffat, who hosted an honorary tribute event in the fall of 2016 to recognize Jack’s contributions, where all proceeds went to the Bill Hill Haven women’s shelter project – a cause close to Jack’s heart.
“He was a guy who was heard without raising his voice,” said Kroffat, adding that Jack had a way of inspiring everyone around him to be a better person and that by recognizing him, it’s a teachable moment to younger generations – to honour the efforts of those around them who devote their life’s work to the betterment of their communities.
Kroffat is hopeful the word will be positive from the province, but if the initiative proves not possible he will get to work with Kimmett on a suitable alternative.
Jack’s youngest son, Ian Tennant, said the initiative would be a terrific honour.
“I think Jack would be really excited about it … I think he would love that they include his Stoney name,” said Ian.