Monday, January 30, 2012

Day 158 and 159 MacGregor to Carberry to Brandon, Manitoba

Day 158 was a memorable day, not so much because of the relay, but the experience a few of  us had with the people from the Special Olympics. We volunteered to help out at a snowshoeing competition in Portage la Prairie.

Kenn, Natalie, Marilyn, Dawn, Wendy and myself headed over to Yellowquill school in Portage to help out in various roles, including registration, time-keeping, and marshalling.

These kids are so much fun to be around, it was really rewarding to be part of it.

These two athletes are practicing for the 1600 metre race.

Now it is show time!, as they line up for their race.
There were several different races, including 50m, 100m ,200, 400, 800, and 1600metre. Racers are grouped according to age and ability. A lot of these kids are seasoned veterans, having competed in several races all over.

I have done my job here, which was to  make sure the racers all made it to the starting line and got into the right lanes. Some of the athletes can really go in those snowshoes!

Ready, set..............

and go!
After 3 hours, it was time for me to get going, I had a medal bearer meeting point to get to. Thank-you to the Special Olympics of Portage la Prairie for having me, it was an honour!

Our hotel was actually across the field from the school, so I decided to walk back. I did get held up for a couple of minutes by this train.
Jake and I are off to our meeting point in Sidney, Manitoba. Farewell to Portage la Prairie.

Twice in one day! This time I got stopped on the way into Sidney

The community was ready for us, they were even serving dainties, as shown on this poster. There is a word I haven't heard for awhile.

daintiesplural of dain·ty

Something good to eat; a delicacy

This is the original school bell that was used here back when the community center was a schoolhouse.

the community center, and our medal bearer meeting point for day 158

Jake briefs the medal bearers, getting them ready for their experience, as friends and family listen in.
These ladies were delightful. Sandra, Doreen, and Pearl were also quite modest when it came time for them to talk about their difference making in the community.

They all walked together for their segments in the 25th anniversary relay.

Our end of day celebration today was in Carberry, population around 1,500


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Another relay first. Our end of day celebration was at the local legion. It ended up being a lot of fun, there was a great mix of people who came to see the medal bearers, and hear about the relay, and the regular folks who come in on a Saturday to take part in the meat  draw, a legion tradition. (I know this because I am a member of the Summerland Legion in B.C.)
Jeremy introduces our end of day medal bearer and local community leader Don.

Our endurance athlete Lonnie addresses the crowd and relates his story.

The local community organizations came together to donate money to the Rick Hansen Foundation.

Scott, Jamie, and Otto join these ladies to partake in the meat draw. You buy a strip of raffle tickets for a dollar, and if they call your number, you win meat, how much fun is that!

Scott making the transaction, he certainly was the life of the party at the table today!

And the sun sets in Carberry, and puts an end to day 158 of the 25th anniversary Rick Hansen relay.
Off to our new home for the next 4 nights, Brandon, Manitoba. Population around 40,000 

Day 159, and a bit of a shock, back down to minus 22, after a week of milder weather.

It was a sunny day, though as Jake and I headed out for a medal bearer meeting point in Shilo, Manitoba, the home of.........................................

Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Shilo.

Sometimes on this relay it is hard to find a place to park the shuttle bus. It is not often you get THE prime parking stall, the Base Commander's spot.

Another relay first, our medal bearer meeting point was in the boardroom at the base headquarters.

Yes Jake, dare to dream!

Doing a little strategic planning.

Outside, Mackinley was interviewed by CTV news. Here is his story:

My name is Mackinley , I am 12 years old. I will be 13 on November 14,2011. I am a student at O'Kelly School at CFB Shilo,

Manitoba. I would like to participate in the Rick Hansen Relay. I would like to do this because I admire what he has done over the years

beginning with his Man In Motion tour 25 years ago. My Mom when she was 17 worked at McDonalds before she joined the Canadian Military

and she helped with collecting donations in Fredericton, NB when he came through because McDonalds helped sponsor his Man In Motion tour.

She met Rick Hansen then and has a picture with him. I would like to help this time because it's almost like a family tradition. I really think he

is a true Canadian hero and would really like to meet him.
Getting ready to head out. These medal bearers, including Jonathon on the right, ran together on the base. Here is Jonathon's story:

I think that Gunner J. Podolas would be a good representative of the Shilo Community for the Rick Hansen Anniversary Tour. He is an

inspiration to all around him by leading a healthy and active lifestyle. Gunner Podolas can be seen around base running at all hours of the day,

except when he is at work, leading by example, putting 100% into everything he does.

It is not hard to imagine Rick's core values of determination, courage, integrity, inspiration and teamwork as Gunner Podolas'. Recently, he

completed in the 36th US Marine Corps Marathon 2011 and finished 4020th (with a time of 3:57:00) of 21,024 competitors, from around the

world. Further, Gunner Podolas finished 1st in the Shilo Half Marathon. Without any outside encouragement or reward, Gunner Podolas runs

for a healthy and active lifestyle. This is precisely the type of person that inspires others to do better, as did Rick Hansen with his Man in Motion

Tour back in 1985.

Gunner Podolas would wear the Medal with pride and honour, while representing 1 RHCA, CFB Shilo, and the entire Shilo Community.

Thank-you to all these sponsors who provided lunch to everyone at our relay celebration at the community centre annex on the base. They served up fruit, sausages, and the fluffiest pancakes I have had in awhile. The base combined a family day with the relay, and the turn-out was amazing.

A full house

The medal bearers were front and center on stage.

There were a couple of distractions, like this petting zoo. Billy, I thought it was for kids??
But then again, who doesn't like farm animals. These ones were "bomb" proof, they were quite comfortable with all the kids running around and handling them .

There's Mike, another big kid.

This little fellow wasn't getting many visits, he didn't look like he wanted to be there.

A welcome to the relay from the base.

Lonnie sends out his inspirational message.

They wouldn't let us test this baby out.
Tanks for having us on your base today!

Heading back to Brandon for our end of day celebration at the Riverbank Discovery Center

The Center has an affiliation with Ducks Unlimited, who created the ponds around the site.

Inside the center was a display of taxidermy including various species of local widlife.

There was also a painting donated to the city by RBC during the 2010 Olympic Torch Relay.

It's a Canada thing!
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We were fortunate to have the Brandon Conservatory Charole serenade us for the celebration. These ladies were extremely talented., and have even preformed at Carnegie Hall.

There were "children's activities" available at the centre as well. Kayla? Josh?

Keep practicing, "anything is possible", Josh, and "never give up on your dreams!"

CTV was on hand to interview the End of Day medal bearer, Phillip.  He was very determined and wheeled into the centre without any assistance. Here is a little bit of his story:

He was born March 5 with Cerebral Palsy. He is employed with the Brandon school division as an EA at Riverheights for the last ten years. He

uses both motorized wheelchair but can navigate manually if need be. Of most interest is when he was 5 years old living in Wpg he met Rick

Hanson and Rick has been a life-long idol of his. Phillip does have a newspaper article of the meeting.

 Phillip proudly showing of the Rick Hansen medal. 
Some of the difference makers of Day 159

or feed them!

Ronald is in the house again, spreading joy and giving out toques!

After dropping Jake off at the hotel, it was down the hill (sorry to Manitoba, but this was kind of a surprise), to downtown Brandon,

To wash the shuttle bus. This place was unique, it was a big building that you drove into, and there were separate stalls for about 10 vehicles.
 That night most of the relay crew went out for dinner at a restaurant behind our hotel. I am only showing this picture because I was kind of embarrased I ordered it. The special for the night was a princess? cut of prime rib. Someone told me it was a small portion , so I ordered the queen cut (thank god I didn't order the King cut), well as you can well imagine, two days later it is still sitting with me. Oh, but it was good.