At 23 years old, Jordan McIldoon, born and raised in Maple Ridge, had found his groove.
He was building a career in trades, following his dad in heavy duty mechanics. In his last year of the BCIT Heavy Duty Mechanic program, Jordan was working as an apprentice for Jacob Bros Construction. When he wasn’t working, he could be found dirt-biking every chance he got, playing hockey with his buddies, riding his prized Harley Davidson motorcycle, and snowmobiling at his family’s cabin. He also loved country music.
In September 2017, Jordan and his girlfriend Amber flew to Las Vegas for the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival taking place on Sunday, October 1, 2017. It was supposed to be a night to remember. Instead it became a nightmare no one would be able to forget.
At about 10:05 pm that Sunday night, a lone gunman unleashed countless gunshots into the unsuspecting crowd of 22,000 concert goers. In the end, 58 people were reported killed in the mass shooting. Jordan was one of them.
Choosing love over hate
“When we learned that Jordan had been killed, we flew to Las Vegas right away,” says Angela McIldoon, Jordan’s mother. “My husband Alan and I knew we had a choice about how to respond. We could choose love or hate. We chose love. We knew we wanted to focus on the positive and leave a legacy in his memory but weren’t sure how.”
An industry pulls together
“Everyone here was in shock when we heard about Jordan’s death,” recalls Scott Jacob, principal at Jacob Bros Construction. “Led by Rick Weir, Jordan’s supervisor and friend, the mechanics who worked in our shop with Jordan passed the hat to collect money but weren’t sure for what.”
At the same time, Jacob Bros began getting dozens of calls from its clients, competitors, as well as its sub-trades and suppliers, offering condolences and asking what they could do to help. That’s when Scott had the idea of linking the tragedy and the effect it had on industry to fundraising for a scholarship at BCIT, where Jordan was a student at the time. Jacob Bros approached the McIldoons with the idea.
“When [Jacob Bros] shared the idea with us, we realized this was something specific and purposeful that we could do to honour Jordan’s life,” says Angela. “Jordan was given every opportunity in life to do what he wanted. We know there are so many young people who don’t have those opportunities. This was something we could do to help them.”
After consulting with BCIT Foundation and Jacob Bros, the McIldoons established the Jordan McIldoon Memorial Endowment Fund. Jacob Bros took on the responsibility of fundraising for it, first contacting all those clients, competitors, sub-trades, and suppliers who had expressed an interest in helping. Then the company expanded its efforts to include trade associations and their membership. Initially, the McIldoons and Jacob Bros had set a goal of raising $75,000. The response was overwhelming. Within a matter of months, they had raised over $100,000.
“We really admire the McIldoons and their strength and determination to create something positive from Jordan’s tragic passing,” says Kimberly Harmsen, associate director, BCIT Foundation. “Through scholarships, bursaries, and awards, this endowment fund will help many BCIT trades students realize their dreams in a way that Jordan couldn’t. It speaks to the strength of Jordan’s family and the commitment of the community that surrounded him. We are proud to be a part of it.”
“When I think of Jordan, I remember him wearing those cowboy boots all the time—even with shorts,” Angela laughs. “He was like that. He lived life big and bold—the way he wanted. It didn’t matter what anybody thought.”
Angela says she hopes the endowment will help other young people achieve their dreams and live life as Jordan did—big, bold, and in their own version of cowboy boots.
If you would like more information about the Jordan McIldoon Memorial Endowment, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.