NICK & TRUDY KRABBENDAM
Trudy Krabbendam was just a young girl in Holland when the Nazis surrounded her family’s home and arrested her parents. Hosting a meeting of Jehovah’s Witnesses in November 1941 was enough for them to be sent to a concentration camp.
“About 30 people were present from surrounding villages,” Trudy recalls in her life story. “That night the German soldiers had surrounded the house and threw all the people in a freight car.”
“I was never to see my parents ever again. What a life we were facing.”
Trudy was nine years old at the time and she and her older sister and younger brother ended up staying with various families through the war years.
“It was very hard and sad. My sister was questioned by the Germans over and over, but she was trained not to give anything away. She was only 12 years old.”
Living in a town south of Rotterdam, bombers flew overhead almost nightly.
“Explosions and fires over and over. I can never forget it,” she said. “Boy, that was a relief when the war was over. Canadian soldiers helped to restore the situation when Holland was finally liberated.”
In the early 1950s, Trudy reconnected with Nick Krabbendam, a former classmate. They married and emigrated to Canada in 1955 eventually settling in the Chilliwack area community of Rosedale.
Nick and Trudy soon found work at farms and a vegetable processing plant and they later operated a refrigeration shop and several other businesses over the years in Chilliwack and Vancouver.
Now semi-retired, they moved to Penticton more than five years ago.
Grateful and eager to give to their new community, the Krabbendams have donated $100,000 to the South Okanagan Similkameen Medical Foundation’s $20-million campaign to supply medical equipment for the new Patient Care Tower at Penticton Regional Hospital.
Nick said they heard about the hospital expansion and wanted to support the Foundation campaign. Trudy recently underwent hip surgery which required her to remain at PRH for more than three weeks.
“We have not done too badly in our lives, so we felt we could spare some money,” he explained. “It would be nice if the government would pay for everything, but it’s tough for them to do that because they’ve got so many (projects).”
Nick said a well-run hospital is necessary for everyone in the community. New and improved equipment will be a definite benefit.
“There’s always new equipment coming out, but it takes money,” he said.
A naming opportunity program is in place where applications can be made to name rooms and clinics in the hospital for those who donate at least $30,000.
Nick noted having a family name associated with a room at PRH will probably have just as much meaning to the younger generations. The Krabbendams have three surviving children, seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
The new six-storey patient care tower at PRH opened in April 2019. Construction is now underway on a major upgrade to the hospital’s Emergency Department.