Saturday, February 4, 2012

Day 162 and 163 Virden, Manitoba to Moosomin and Grenfell, Saskatchewan

Day 162 was our last day in Brandon, farewell to the Lakeview Inn, (obviously a chain, there was no lake to view anywhere close to here!

Heading west, Vancouver is getting closer. Back on shuttle 3 today with Kyle, we never did make it to Virden, our medal bearer meeting points were east and west of there

As we headed west I saw this sign for Sioux Valley. That takes me back to the Olympic Torch Relay. We rolled into this first nations reserve around 6 am 2 years ago. It was minus 40 and it was barely starting to get light out . As we got closer to the the reserve, we had an escort of horses and riders, all in traditional Indian dress, they were giving Indian war cries as we all headed toward a flame ceremony at the band office. It was one of the most incredible and powerful moments of my life and one of the top five moment of the torch relay. It doesn't do the moment justice, but here is a picture I took of the moment. ..............

A little ice fog as we say good-bye to:
what, are you kidding me, farewell to Manitoba already?

But yes, he we are! one shot for me,
one for Kyle!

Here we go, headed towards Moosomin. I was excited to stay in Moosomin, because it reminded me of the Guess Who song "runnin back to Saskatoon" (here's the lyrics) and here is the song (off of you tube)

not much different than Manitoba (so far)

The view from my home for the next two nights

Back to the car wash, we have an image to uphold!

The icon of the prairies , the grain elevator
downtown Moosomin, population about 3,000

End of day was at this recently built arena and community centre.

In the arena, they had a local hall of fame., this was for Fred Lake, who won a stanley cup for Ottawa in 1909

Clarence Campbell, who was born in the nearby town of Fleming, was president of the National Hockey League from 1946 to 1977

Let's give it up for our difference makers of Moosomin!
A contingent from Scotiabank, one of our sponsors, is out on the street to greet Arlene, who is the bank's branch manager.

Our end of day medal bearer was Tony, a local teacher, coach, and community volunteer that suffered a stroke 15 years ago. He still had his sense of humour though. He told a story about how his granddaughter kept asking him to make a noise like a frog. "whatever for?, he asked", the granddaughter replied " because gramma says when you croak, she's gonna take us all to Disneyland!"

A smaller crowd, but enthusiastic.

Posing with the Rick Hansen medal and our endurance athlete Lonnie

Peggy was running in honour and memory of her brother Malcom, who had cerebral palsy, and Dayna, a friend's daughter who had Rett syndrome. Here is Peggy's story:

I am thrilled to be participating in the Anniversary relay, in memory of my brother Malcolm, who had cerebral palsy, and my good young friend

Dayna Bartley, who had Rett Syndrome. Malcolm and Dayna have both passed away, so I walk with friends and family members who celebrate

the joy that they brought to us, and celebrate how we are richer for having had them in our lives. Thank you, Malcolm and Daya for being the

best teachers a person could ever ask for! With love, your family and many friends.

Back at the hotel, they had a customer appreciation night for the relay crew and all the other hotel patrons. Good Food!
This hotel was only 2 years old, and was deluxe, 4 pillows on the bed?! Tough life on the road.

Day 163, Josh is celebrating the first time on the road he has been able to get soy milk at the hotel breakfast.

Heading west, this is the first time I have seen wind turbines since southern Ontario

Kyle and I had a medal bearer meeting point at Whitewood school in Whitewood
This school was full of positive energy. There were a lot of quotes and sayings on all the walls in the school.

In the teacher's lounge

In the school there was a memorial wall for some of the students. This is one of two brothers who were 6 years apart in age, who both died in separate car accidents at the age of 20!

The whole school was like this, wow!

We had our medal bearer meeting in the teacher's lounge. Kyle has made a new friend.
and he was nice enough to introduce him to me as well. How about the carpet? a little loud, but fun, it was retro.

about as relaxed as a medal bearer group can get.

The convoy rolls by.

Endurance mode: where our endurance athlete Lonnie carries the medal, flanked by Kenn and Marilyn.

Everyone gets into position as we switch from endurance mode ot medal bearer mode.

Kelsey and Dennis. Kelsey was chosen by Whitewood school as their difference maker, and Dennis was also chosen by the school. He is a teacher at the school and was chosen by the community as their difference maker. Here is his story:

Dennis was travelling to neighboring community to attend his daughter's hockey game, when with three of his children, they struck a bull moose

on the Number 1 highway. Dennis sustained a C-7 burst fracture with other injuries that left him paralysed. He was sent to the Wascana

Rehabilitation and with the assistance of these amazing people, helped him to regain the use of his legs. He was left with a permanent

disability but considers himself lucky as not any of his children were injured in the accident. The community of Whitewood and the surrounding

communities provided overwhelming support for himself and family. It has been six years since the accident in 2005, but with the support of

family, friends and excellent health care, Dennis has been able to manage daily tasks and tries to manage the constant pain he was left due to

the accident. The accident puts life into perspective knowing that what you suffer can always be recognized as less than what others suffer

through accident, illness and world disasters and war. You learn to say "I'm wonderful" when asked how you are each day, because in

comparison to others struggles, you really have to embrace each day.
The students and staff of Whitewood school showing their tremendous support for the medal bearers

Anticipation as the Rick Hansen 25th anniversary relay approaches.

Beth awaits her turn along with friends and family, who all got on the bus to experience the moment.

A quick greeting and thank-you from our relay crew to the community and school, and then it was time to do the "warm-up dance that has become the relay tradition. It's easy to learn and has been a real hit.

Downtown Whitewood.

That was as far as Kyle and I got today, we did not go to the end of day celebration in Grenfell, it was 50km farther west, and we still had one more night back in Moosomin. and no, it was tempting but we put Moose Mountain on hold for another time.

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