What I Learned From Carl Young

carl-young-rocking-chairby Alan Rycroft

I met Carl Young just once. But he made a strong impression on me. When he and his dog Turbo died in a car accident a year later, on March 21, 2015, I was amazed at what this simple, caring man had accomplished.

Carl Young lived his whole life in the family home near Spectrum school. Due to a disability, he was unable to hold a job. He never had a girlfriend nor fathered any children. But he was a happy man.

Neighbours described Carl as a softspoken man with a heart of gold. He had a keen memory for names and numbers and always greeted everyone by name. If you shared your date of birth and phone number, Carl would call you every birthday to wish you well.

He was generous with his friends, some of whom were homeless. Even though he himself lived in poverty, he allowed many people to stay on his property. His home was a safe haven for those who needed a coffee, a meal, a Lucky or a warm and dry couch to sleep.

Most of all, Carl loved his dog Turbo. He is most remembered in his Saanich neighbourhood as the nice fellow who walked his dog several times daily. Or, as I was told, that Turbo, a large, strong dog, was fond of walking Carl!

When I met Carl he had no living family left. His brother had died several years ago, and Carl inherited the family home, after his parents both passed away.

Thankfully, at the suggestion of a friend, Carl Young found a lawyer and had a will and life insurance policy drawn up. He left the family home, his only asset, to Cool Aid, and named the society as the sole beneficiary of his life insurance.

Carl specified that he wanted to benefit homeless pets, as well as people like his friends. So this is what Cool Aid is doing:

  • Most of the funds from the property sale will contribute to building eight or more apartments for people, like his friends, who are homeless.
  • A sum of $50,000 will endow two Pets in Need Funds, one with the Victoria Foundation and one at Cool Aid, to provide food, medicines, and medical procedures, etc. for pets whose owners can’t afford these for their beloved companions.

I learned something deep in my heart from Carl Graham Edward Young that I had only known as an intellectual concept: Everyone can make a difference.

Rest in Peace, Carl Graham Edward Young. We have much to learn from you.

Saanich man who died in crash donates home to Cool Aid

A 60-year-old Saanich man who died in a single-vehicle crash last month has left his house to the Victoria Cool Aid Society, ensuring that, in death as in life, he will help the homeless.

Carl Graham Young was the passenger in a van that crashed into trees on Old West Saanich Road on March 21.

Young died at the scene and his dog, Turbo, was taken to a veterinary hospital and put down a few days later. Saanich police are investigating whether the driver was impaired at the time of the crash.

Young lived all his life in his parents’ modest bungalow at 3937 Grange Rd. He never married and never had kids. His parents, Edward and Diane, and his brother, Andrew, have died, leaving Young with the property.

About 18 months ago, Young approached staff at Cool Aid and said he wanted to make the non-profit organization, which runs homeless shelters and low-income housing facilities, the sole beneficiary of his estate, said Alan Rycroft, the society’s spokesman.

“He was a simple man but obviously a very caring person. He asked that some of the proceeds in the estate also be used to help homeless pets,” Rycroft said.

“He loved his dog very much and he also wanted to make sure pets of the homeless are also looked after.”

In an obituary provided by a family friend to Rycroft, Young was described as an avid fan of the Vancouver Canucks, Toronto Blue Jays and car racing.

“Carl had an unusual memory for sports statistics and birth dates,” the obituary says.

“He could be found many times a day walking his dog Turbo in the Marigold area while socializing with his neighbours.”

The obituary says instead of a service, his friends will hold a barbecue to celebrate his life.

Donations in his name can be made to Cool Aid or the SPCA.

At the time of his death, Young was on a disability pension.

“Carl had a heart of gold and his door was always open to those who needed a safe haven … coffee or a meal,” his friend wrote.

There were two trailers sitting in the side yard of the home and Young would often let friends who were at risk of being homeless stay there, which at times caused problems with neighbours in the quiet residential area.

“He hung out with a group of people who could well be Cool Aid clients,” Rycroft said, adding that he spoke with one man who lived in the trailer.

“[Young] did help out people who he knew were in dire circumstances.”

No one is currently living on the property and Cool Aid staff have cleared out the house.

It is assessed at $392,100, according to B.C. Assessment records. There is a small mortgage outstanding, but Rycroft said after the probate process is completed and the property is sold, Cool Aid will likely receive a six-figure donation.

The property is not large enough to build a low-income residential facility, so the cash will go toward funding housing for the homeless and supporting their pets.

“Even though he didn’t have very much, he is going to make a difference,” Rycroft said. “One of the lessons Carl can teach us all is that we all have something to give.”


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