BRANDON -- In memory of a man found dead in his Welcome Inn suite last year, fundraising efforts will begin this week to put a library in the housing co-op for the disabled.
Staff at the home want to name the library Aaron's Place, in commemoration of Aaron Jardine -- a fitting tribute for the man described by his father as a voracious reader.
"We hold a lot of gratitude for the mental-health system in Brandon and what they did for Aaron," Dan Jardine said Sunday.
"I think it (the library) could represent a refuge, blessed peace for folks who are afflicted, give them a quiet time to reflect and to live in more of a contemplative way."
To kick-start this summer's fundraising efforts, staff members will hold a fundraising barbecue and yard sale on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
"We intend to host a variety of fundraisers throughout the summer concluding with a tree-planting ceremony in August to commemorate the one-year anniversary of Aaron's tragic death," said transitional employment program assistant Brianna Deering, who is heading up the fundraising.
"I believe in everything the residents strive to accomplish here at Brandon Community Welcome. Quality of life means everything for both us and our members."
Jardine, who was 31 when he died, was described as a kind-hearted, law-abiding introvert who suffered from schizophrenia.
"Aaron was a vibrant young man who loved to read," said Community Welcome's administrative assistant Crystal Milne, who knew Jardine before his death.
"Reading helped Aaron battle his ongoing mental illness."
Deering said with the funds, she'd like to see the library filled with various genres of books and magazines with some larger furniture such as a deep-shelf bookcase, area rug and chairs for relaxation.
"I believe that knowledge is power and power is key to having some sense of control in one's own life," Deering said.
Three men -- previously charged with robbery and assault in relation to an altercation they're suspected to have had with Jardine -- are now facing manslaughter charges. The final manslaughter charge was laid last month.
To donate to the library, contact Brianna Deering at (204)-721-0774 or Brandon Community Welcome at (204)-728-1514.
-- Brandon Sun