David Dailey's legacy of community service lives on nearly three decades after his tragic death.
Dailey was beaten to death in Moody Park in the early morning hours of March 19, 1985. Because of a heart condition, Dailey went on early-morning walks for exercise and community service.
"He was 71 years old. He needed to walk everyday. It was part of a health condition," said New Westminster resident Marion Smith. "He was collecting pop tins in Moody Park. He donated them to the minor hockey association. He did it for the good of his community."
On the morning of March 19, 1985, Dailey had the misfortune of encountering thieves who were dismantling laundry coin boxes that had been stolen from a local apartment. Dailey was brutally beaten and died from his injuries.
Smith said Dailey's wife Norma was listening to the radio and heard a news report that a body had been found in Moody Park.
"It was devastating," Smith said of the murder. "They had no children, but they knew all the children in the neighbourhood. They knew everybody. She was always out in her garden, he was out walking."
Dailey's legacy of community service lives on in a citizenship award that's given out annually in his name to a student at Lord Kelvin Elementary School. At the time of the murder, the school had awards for student achievement in sports and academics.
"There wasn't a citizenship award," noted Smith, who worked for the school district for 20 years. "Citizenship was something I thought was a really important thing."
It was a natural fit to name the award in Dailey's honour, given that he contributed to the community and lived near the school.
As the only person remaining at the school who worked there at the time of Dailey's murder, music teacher Barb Paul felt it was important to continue honouring his legacy.
"We needed to revitalize it. We always gave the award out, but we no longer had a plaque," she said. "We had come along way from where it originated. It was time to come back to the original concept."
Smith, who wanted to remind the Lord Kelvin community of Dailey's contributions, spoke to Grade 7 students about Dailey and donated a plaque to the school for the David Dailey Citizenship Award.
Former Lord Kelvin student Casey Vinet returned to his alma mater on June 28 to hand out this year's award. Vinet was the second recipient of the award.
"Lord Kelvin holds a special place in my heart. I had some fantastic teachers, some strong role models," he said. "They encouraged me to do well."
Vinet is now a sergeant with the Abbotsford Police Department, where he is the supervisor of the youth squad and crime prevention. He vividly remembers receiving the David Dailey Citizenship Award when he was in Grade 7.
"I was very proud. I can remember the day I received it," he said. "They showed me a picture - it instantly took me back to the day I received it."
Vinet said he was honoured that the school contacted him and asked him to present the award to this year's winner, McKenzie McManus.
"She is an outstanding citizen. She represents Lord Kelvin," said Grade 7 teacher Marc Ruus. "If you were to talk about a Lord Kelvin student, it would be McKenzie. She doesn't ask if you need help - she does it. She has the pulse of the classroom."
Ruus said McKenzie not makes her presence felt at Lord Kelvin Elementary School, but she also contributes to the community around the school.
"McKenzie is the one, as far as being that person that serves the school the best," he said. "I am really into community engagement part - she represents what this whole area stands for."
McKenzie said she does her best to help out in the classroom and around the school, and tries to be helpful - something she hopes to continue in high school.
Lord Kelvin Elementary School isn't the only organization that recognizes Dailey's community service. The New Westminster Minor Hockey Association annually gives out the Dave Dailey Award and the Norma Dailey Award, which go to players who demonstrate good hockey skills, good sportsmanship, consistency, courtesy, and has an acceptable level of scholastic achievement.
New Westminster Chief Const. Dave Jones said two men were convicted of second-degree murder; one is now on full parole and the other is on day parole.
The late Ken Brown, who was chief of the New Westminster Police Department at the time of the murder, told the Royal City Record in 1985 that the men would only have faced burglary charges until they beat Dailey to death.
"It's shocking to the most seasoned police officer," he said at the time. "But we feel confident we will get to the parties involved."
A March 20, 1985 issue of the Royal City Record stated that Dailey had suffered a heart attack several years earlier and went on the walks as a type of therapy. He would often stop by Moody Park Arena for coffee and a chat with parents or children.
"He's been a real prince of a man," Al Peterson told the newspaper at the time of the murder. "He just loved children and wouldn't pass a child without talking to him. They (the Daileys) didn't have children of their own, but through his ways, he certainly adopted a lot of kids."
(Reporter's note: When contacted about covering the David Dailey award, reporter Theresa McManus was not informed that this year's recipient would be her niece, McKenzie McManus. For more on this story, see Theresa McManus's Only in New West blog - go to www.royalcityrecord.com and click on Opinions and then Blogs.)