Saturday, March 31, 2012

Day 216 Williams Lake Event Day

Day 216 was an event day in Rick Hansen's home town of Williams Lake. There is a big western theme in this town, and there are numerous wood statues like this one all over town.

There was quite a buzz today, as the town was getting set for the unveiling of a new monument commemorating his original man in motion world tour!

It was kind of cool, I have never been to anything like that before. Everyone was waiting to see what was underneath that blue tarp.

There was a couple of hundred people in attendance for the occasion.

Even Rick has to wait in suspense like the rest of us.
There was a welcoming and blessing from members of the Esk'etemec first nations.

Which included traditional drumming.

Our endurance athlete, Tyrone is back with us for the second time.


There it is,

Standing 12 feet high, the monument is basically a copper globe supported by four metal pillars, which some observers have said resembles the Olympic torch podium. A thick strand of copper traces the route of the original Man in Motion Tour.
Rick addressess the crowd, thanking friends, family, and supporters. Over $68,000 was raised, from community sponsors, for the building of the monument.

All four pillars have a plaque on them honouring Rick's accomplishments.

and even Ronald made an appearance.

The home of the monument is outside the impressive Williams Lake tourism discovery centre.
Rick poses with local dignitaries.

Lot's of media on hand, here they are interviewing Rick's longtime friend and native of Willams Lake, Don Alder.

The media scrum, Rick's in there somewhere.

Inside the tourism discovery centre features it's own monument to the many outdoor activities available in the area.
Part of the architecture includes these carved wood beams.

Time to wrap it up, (almost), Jordan helps Tyrone get onto the bus back to the hotel .

Then they (not sure which they) decided to get a group picture with the relay team, so Tyrone was back off of the bus for this pic and a group shot (at the end of this blog)
one of the other events in Williams Lake today was a visit to the Summit Opportunity Centre.

Is a day program offering recreational/ community orientated activities, volunteering program and a music program. The Centre provides other in house activities and games. There are opportunities for all individuals to optimize their personal and social competency. Any person affected by a developmental disability can access the Drop-In Centre.

A few of us were there to do a presentation on Rick Hansen and the 25th anniversary tour. The staff there showed us a video clip from Rick's original tour when he came through his home town 25 years ago.

Jake was there showing off the 25th anniversary medal.

It was great to interact with all the people at the opportunity centre. They were thrilled to have us there, and we even did the relay warm-up dance with them.
The group shot.

Smiles, it's all about the smiles!

The team pic from the monument unveiling. Another great day on the relay!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Day 215 Quesnel to Williams Lake, B.C.

The sun rises on Day 215 in Quesnel.

Plus 11 today, that's t-shirt weather!

Another sign of spring was this ladybug in the parking lot.

Seems like that bear has been trying forever to get that cougar.
Looking back in the mirror, so long to Quesnel. I had shuttle 4 again today, I was moving it ahead to Williams Lake then helping out with the events team at the big end of day celebration. 

A short drive of about 119 Kilometres.

A lot of ranchland along this stretch of highway 97 which is part of the Cariboo-Chilcotin

Highway 97 follows along the mighty Fraser river into Williams Lake.
Welcome to Williams Lake, population about 11.000

The Coast Fraser Inn, our home for the next two nights.

The town is in a bowl, it is surrounded by hills on all sides.

Today was a very special day. The 25th anniversary Rick Hansen relay end of day celebration was in Rick's home town. The town had a lot of displays from his original visit 25 years ago, including all these photosgraphs. (The Rick cut-out is ours)
A t-shirt from the original tour.

After we set up all of our equipment and displays we went out to get lunch. Jane, who is recuperting from an ankle injury,  gets the front seat to stretch out

Williams Lake is also home of the  86th annual William's Lake stampede.

We bumped into Steph downtown (not literally)
Celebration time at the Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex.

Wendy and Kyle working the merchandise table. Everytime Rick Hansen is with us, the sales increase dramatically, especially his biography, which people like to have Rick autograph for them.

I hopped on Jeremy's and Jake's shuttle bus to take a pic before the medal bearers headed out for their segments in  the 25th anniversary relay.

The fruits of our labour, our display corner.
Save-on foods donated this cake which featured many pictures of the original man in motion tour, as well as pictures from the 25th anniversary tour.

Outside there was a barbecue put on by one of the local service organizations.

Inside, the stage was set.

Now that's a donation box.
Someone had put together video footage from Rick's original visit to William's Lake 25 years ago.

There was a lot of local talent, but it was the guitiar stylings of  Don Alder that was a real hit. Not only is Don from Williams Lake, he is a good friend of Rick Hansen, and was with him when he had his accident that left him paralyzed.

Here come the day 215 end of day medal bearer, Bruce, with Rick Hansen wheeling along with him.

There was an air cadet honour gaurd, and bagpipers and RCMP dressed in red serge led Bruce and Rick into the arena.

There's the man in motion waving to the crowd of over 2,000. Rick still has a lot of friends and family in the Williams Lake area.
It was very cool to be in Rick's hometown and be part of a historic event

The support was not only from the community, but from our relay team as well. This was the biggest turn-out by the relay staff I have seen at any end of day celebration, I counted 35, and I probably missed a couple.

A heartfelt speech from Rick, he thanked friends, community, and family, talked about the progress in the past 25 years in spinal cord research, encourgaed everyone with a positive message, and even talked about how proud he was of the current relay team.

Lot's of media on hand for this event.

now it is the medal bearer's turn to be front and center.

after a very spirited warm-up dance, Rick was whisked away for media interviews.

but not before he received a standing ovation from the crowd and his team.

I ended up leaving way before Rick. After interviews, he spent time with the people that had come out to see him, to sign autographs and pose for pictures, he is always so gracious. Day 215 will definately be one of the highlights on this 273 day journey.