Pat Montani, M.S.M.  (December 30, 1949 - April 23, 2021)

I am honoured to have known and worked with this great man.  Pat was a unique individual to the say the least.  He was born in Hamilton, Ontario and moved to B.C. over 30 years ago.  Pat was a technology entrepreneur for over 40 years and loved hockey, biking, skiing, hunting and fishing.
Pat, along with his wife Brenda, founded Bicycles for Humanity (B4H) in 2005 while living in Kelowna, BC.  At this time, Pat joined Rotary in Kelowna and grew the B4H grassroot organization that relies on volunteers to collect used bicycles and then ships them to partners in rural Africa.  The first shipment of 500 used bikes was collected in central B.C. and shipped to Namibia, Africa.  Shortly after the Montanis got started, they were joined by Paul Sherwen, one of the well - known voices of the Tour de France.  Paul, originally from Uganda, understood the power of a bicycle and how mobility could positively impact the lives of those in the developing world.  
In 2006, there were 4 chapters of B4H and the movement spread like wildfire.  In 15 years, B4H grew to over 50 chapters worldwide and as of 2020, over 325,000 used bicycles have been shipped to Africa and other countries around the world.  Many of the shipping containers were turned into bike shops called Bicycle Empowerment Centres (BEC’s) and over 200 have been created.  B4H is alive and well and continues to do good work around the world.
Pat and Brenda moved to Whistler, where Pat joined the Rotary Club of Whistler.  Pat continued to coordinate and support the active chapters of B4H globally, while Brenda ran the Whistler B4H Chapter.  Being part of the bike collection process, fundraising for shipping costs, and container loading was an extremely rewarding experience.  
In 2015, Pat created iEmpowerment, using his knowledge of technology, entrepreneurial skills and love of Africa to empower people in rural Africa.  You may have had the pleasure of hearing Pat speak passionately about Bicycles for Humanity or iEmpowerment at Rotary meetings throughout B.C. and the United States.  The Rotary Club of Pemberton worked with B4H in Whistler and shipped two containers of bikes to Lesotho, South Africa.  Our Rotary club went on to set up several Skills Empowerment Centres throughout Lesotho, using the iEmpowerment technology and basic computers in five rural areas.
In December 2016, Pat joined the Rotary Club of Pemberton and continued his journey to educate Rotarians about the powerful tools he created.  Pat worked tirelessly for the betterment of those less fortunate.  However, he strove to make those accepting his help to be accountable, hard-working and community driven.  His goal was to create economic opportunities and sustainable employment.  To this end, Pat helped to create self -sustaining local businesses;
  • Bicycle repair shops throughout Africa
  • Kara – Tunga Tours in Karamoja, Uganda
  • Dental assistance programs in several countries
Pat and Brenda were awarded the Governor General of Canada’s Meritorious Service Medal (MSM) in September, 2016 for the creation of B4H.  Pat was also awarded the Citizen of the Year in Whistler in 2019, again for the work with Bicycles for Humanity.
In mid- 2019, Pat re-worked the iEmpowerment model and created Cloud Empowerment. Pat was convinced that with the use of mobile phone and cloud-based technology, he, along with his African team, could efficiently offer healthcare workers a robust data collection and health management system at a national level in all countries.  Cloud Empowerment software is built in Africa, by Africans.  
All of the programs that Pat has designed are intended to help the poorest people in remote communities, the people that live in isolated areas with no internet, no economy, no access to health care and no future.  The Cloud Empowerment goal is to empower ordinary people to become the leaders and drivers of their own lives. 
Below is a list of the many organizations that Pat developed and will be the legacy of his service above self:
The great work will continue and Pat will be looking down from above to ensure we all do our part.  At the bottom of every email Pat sent out were his favourite quotes that I have included below;
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.  Indeed it is the only thing that ever has." 
~ Margaret Mead ~
"In order to change an existing paradigm you do not struggle to try and change the problematic model. You create a new model and make the old one obsolete. That, in essence, is the higher service to which we are all being called."
~ Buckminster Fuller ~ 
I thank all of you for taking the time to read this tribute to Pat Montani, my fellow Rotarian, mentor and friend. 
Liz Scroggins, Rotary Club of Pemberton