In Loving Memory of Randal James Harvie (Jim) McPhee

May 4th has been officially recognized by The City of Airdrie as “Stephens Backpacks Society Yellow Hat Day”.

We Dream Out Loud to Light Up Our Community

Jim wore that hat EVERYWHERE. To anybody who would listen, “Do you know what this hat’s about? It’s about my son. He started a charity.”

Before Jim died, I didn’t realize just how much the yellow hats had already taken on a life of its own. Jim’s Celebration of Life service was filled with a sea of people wearing yellow hats surrounding a big fountain adorned with perennials. When the service was over, we were greeted by the entire George McDougall High School football team who wore the yellow hats in the open field, to honor Jim and his legacy.

The celebration made me realize that this yellow hat, people remembered The Yellow Hat reminds us to leave the room brighter than how you found it. It was certainly the best part of Jim’s personality, he always left the room a little brighter. Dreaming Out Loud to Light Up Your Community has become a movement. It’s about us uniting together as charities, as a community, and being inclusive, for all kids and people with special needs. The honor of wearing the Yellow Hat is a symbol of hope, to be kind, to get back to simple truths – not just saying “hi, how are you?”- but to connect with people for a common purpose and creating lasting relationships.

So to me, that’s what Lighting Up the Community means. If Jim had the chance to speak on May 4th, I know he would say this: “I am so proud to be a part of this. The most important thing I want you to remember – NEVER lose your faith – because in the end, that’s all that matters.” That’s what he would say. He was so proud of Stephens’s Backpacks Society. For him, as the cancer came in oppressive and crushing waves , it was his lighthouse in the storm. It gave him hope.

– Nancy McPhee



After a fourteen year war with five different kinds of cancer, the legacy of Jim McPhee lives on, celebrating his faith, his courage, caring for others and giving himself totally to his family and community! Jim loved family getting together and May 4th, 2018 we will have a huge celebration for all families at the Apple Creek Golf Course.

Children will bring their backpacks and sleeping bags and enjoy a Star Wars Evening while their parents have a wonderful roast beef and Yorkshire meal and entertaining evening of Scottish pipers and dancers and the wonderful Fraid Knot Band will play all evening! Prizes to be won and a silent auction! All proceeds will go to children and families in need!

If he could leave one message for his community, his son Stephen says, “No matter how hard your journey is, focus on Faith in your destination.”

“Even after my Dad was physically gone; the light he shone will never disappear!”

“Dad believed however you choose to give back; do it with pride, passion and that it makes you feel a sense of purpose and belonging.”

“Jimmie always wore his yellow Stephen’s Backpacks hat wherever he went and would tell anyone who would listen about his son Stephen’s charity and always encourage others to get involved and help children in need! He touched the lives of children from preschool to high school as he dropped off backpacks for them to fill or picked up knitting from a senior’s home to put in the backpacks. He was my husband and for 35 years my best friend and he leaves so many amazing warm and cherished memories. He always left the room brighter than he found it!”