Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Day 160 and 161 Brandon to Virden, Manitoba

Day 160 was an event day. While some people were helping out at school presentation, 8 of us were recruited to populate the Global Accessability Map, recently introduced by the Rick Hansen Foundation. Basically we go around to different locations and rate businesses on their accessability. This is not only for wheelchairs, but other disabilities like vision and sight. Kenn, Kyle and I decided to check out Brandon University

Kyle picked up a book while we were rating the university library.

Brandon University was home to two famous Canadians, Tommy Douglas, who is considered the father of medicare in Canada, and Stanley Knowles one of Canada's most respected politicians. Both class of 1930

A lot of heritage buildings on the campus.

This ended up being a large task, just for the fact there were so many buildings on campus. A lot of these older buildings have been updated for handicap access. There could have been more signage, and some of the handicap entrances were a long way away from parking, but overall, this was a disability friendly campus. They even had wheelchair accessible dorm rooms.

Great quote from former NDP leader Jack Layton, who recently passed away from cancer.

Kenn is a big NDP fan and an even bigger fan of Tommy Douglas, so we were on a quest to find the chair he used when he was the premier of Saskatchewan.

Mission accomplished! It was up in a seldom used archive area.

It was a comfortable chair!

I wish we would of found this office first. They were so helpful with information about the needs of students with disabilities and what Brandon University could offer them. Another great learning experience.
Day 161, back to business. A little snow and ice this morning, actually had to use the ice scraper for the first time. There was a call for freezing rain as well as the temperatures warmed up to almost freezing.

All I said Steph was who mixes raisin bran and fruit loops in their cereal?

Today I was back on shuttle #3, but with Kyle as the medal bearer host. I have not worked with Kyle since Sept. 24, 2011 in Kensington, Prince Edward Island!

A corner?

Our only medal bearer meeting point today was in Oak Lake, Manitoba, population about 250. The end of day ceremony was in Virden. These are certainly quieter times on the relay as we roll through the smaller communities.

Oak Lake, home of Issac, that's a lot of bull!
Kyle and I had time to grab a quick bite at this diner in Oak Lake. It certainly had that small town feel, the food was great and the hospitality was even better.

I think Kyle is digging it!

I guess with the only restaurant in town that is open you are bound to run into a couple of relay folk. Jordan and Barn came in and joined us.

Aw, closed, I guess we won't see how dandy it is this trip

An introduction to french at the Oak Lake community school
Why don't  I just dedicate this blog to Kyle and his antics.

The school turned the event into a lunch stop, serving up lasagna for the students, the community and the relay crew. They had been planning our arrival for awhile and were quite excited to have us there.

While Kyle was setting up the meeting point I head downtown to check out the starting point for our first medal bearer in Oak Lake.

It should say Rick Hansen relay.

They had a poster of Rick Hansen on the wall of the school hallway
"If enough of us choose to change even one small thing, together we have the power to change anything!"

Across the way there was an old building with the sign "Lewis Cattle Oiler", well I certainly had to google that when I got back to the hotel! Apparently it is an insecticide that is applied to the hide of the cattle. You learn a lot of new things on this relay.
We only had 3 medal bearers today in Oak Lake, Mike, Ashley, and Jack.

We got to the insertion point of the relay a little early, and the local newspaper showed up, so the medal bearers got off of the shuttle bus to pose for a couple of pics.

When they finished their segments, there was a reception back at the school hosted by Jordan. It was a great turnout for a community of this size.

This was another relay first, there was a personal message from Rick for the community of Oak Lake, and in honour of Audrey Taylor who recently passed away. She was orginally chosen as a medal bearer, her son Mike carried the Rick Hansen medal in her honour. Here is the story:

We have a unique situation in our school and would like to posthumously nominate a highly esteemed and valued community and school

volunteer and youth mentor.

Audrey Taylor was a dedicated youth mentor; she volunteered countless hours teaching art and ceramics to students within our school and

community. Her art lessons were more like life lessons; a vehicle for promoting self esteem and self accomplishment. Audrey was a positive

supportive force in the lives of the Oak Lake youth. Not only did she share her time and artistic talents with our students but she was actively

involved in various community programs supporting our youth and their families. Audrey was a valuable member of the SOS Lighthouses

Program ( planning for evening and weekend activities for youth), a member of the Oak Lake Town Council and an excited supporter and

member of the Child CARE Centre project just to name a few of her numerous community commitments! Despite being diagnosed with cancer

some time ago Audrey quietly persevered through her illness with only her closest family aware as she continued life as usual never missing a

beat. With her smile, remaining energy and caring spirit Audrey continued on until very recently making extraordinary community contributions

to the youth of Oak Lake and the Oak Lake community. Audrey's son Mike Taylor has agreed to represent his mother in the relay carrying on

her legacy to the community.

Back east to Brandon for one more night.

Downtown Brandon, also one last chance for a few of us to head to the gym to keep in relay shape!

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