Friday, February 24, 2012

Day 180 and 181 Taber to Lethbridge, Alberta

Day 181, Not a bad day for this time of year in the prairies. (In case your wondering where day 180 went, it was a relay day off and for the first time, I did not take a single picture!)

You would never know how bad the weather was in the courtyard of our hotel. With the tropical plants and ponds, it was like a little oasis.

A nice little outdoor (well indoors, but..) pub/restaurant in the courtyard area

Behind the hotel, a view of the train crossing the 1.6 kilometre train bridge.
Across the valley is the University of Lethbridge, where our end of day  celebration will be.

wooo wooooooo!

You probably can't tell from this pic, but the train spanned the entire length of the bridge.

Before Kayla and I started our medal bearer meeting (conveniently located in the hotel), I drove to the insertion point for our first medal bearer at the local Legion in Lethbridge, where this jet is situated.
We had 12 medal bearers in our group today, along with a lot of friends and family that came out for support.

This group was very enthusiastic and well spoken (we try and get them to brag a little bit about themselves and talk about why they are difference makers in their community.) Ross, in front on the right, actually knows Rick a little bit. Here is his story:

I first met Rick when he was he Halifax for the PanAm Wheelchair games back in the early 80's. We became instant friends and kept in touch

over the years mostly through wheelchair basketball as I played for the Nova Scotia Flying Wheels for over 10 years. I got interested in racing

and went on to represent Canade at some events. In 1984 ( I think) the world wheelchair games were to be in England and Rick invited me to

come stay with him for the summer and train for the games so I did. That hill up Galardy Way to SFU is a real challenge. The next year he

started of on his little trek and asked if I would agree to be a back up to ensure the "mission" ( I guess) got finished should anything happen to

him. I agreed and nobody wanted him to succeed more than I did, believe me. We have remained friends since, going on several fishing trips

together including the RH fishing challenge a couple years ago.

As for me, I am 51 years old. A T10 paraplegic as a result of a car accident in 1980. My ex-wife and I adopted 4 children, including 3 brothers. I

hope the biggest difference I have made might be in thier lives, as they have in mine. Through the years I got involved in most of thier

activites, and coached them all in soccer over a 10 year period. As far as the paraplegic thing, I hope the difference I have tried to make is to

adjust to my situation and live as full a life as possible without letting the little things slow me down too much. To try and show people around

me that with enough desire and courage to try, much can be accomplished. And who better as a mentor in that than Rick himself.

Josh pumps up Laura and gets her ready for her segment

Kayla with the medal bearers, you can feel the anticipation on the bus!
The police escorts were out in full force today, leading the convoy down the streets of Lethbridge

Number 26, Brady, a medal bearer from Picture Butte ( about 1650 people and about 27 kilometres north of Lethbridge) high school, poses with fellow students and running club members

Not to be outdone, Sharon arrives with her running club members and with our endurance athlete Lonnie following along.

Josh helps Tamie and her service dog down from the shuttle for her segment.
End of day celebration was at the 1st choice Savings family centre at the University of Lethbridge.

This end of day was really cool. They tied in the 25th anniversary relay with a family day. There were lots of interactive things for the kids to do, including swimming, and this cardboard box building centre.

and this basketball station

and floor hockey.
The family day had a pirate theme, didn`t take long for Jordan to get into the spirit!

Everyone (including some of the day`s medal bearers) applaud the arrival of Dakota, our End of Day difference maker.

And here he is! and here is a little bit about Dakota from the person who nominated him:

I would like to nominate Dakota for the RicK Hansen honor. Here is all that Dakota has done recently. He raised money for a well for World Vision by giving up his birthday presents when he was in elementary school. He held a penny drive for the Red Cross to raise money for the tsunami when he was in elementary school. When he moved to St. Francis he held a bake sale to raise money and was able to help build 4 schools in Rwanda and give money to the Haiti relief fund. For his second bake sale he raised money for Canadian Baptist Ministries to buy businesses, school supplies and animals for third world countries. He volunteers at Family Center when needed. He volunteers at Ten Thousand Villages once or twice a month. He has just began to be a Big Brother Mentor on his lunch hours once a week. He was in the Leadership course at St. Francis and has joined leadership at C.C.H.S. here in Lethbridge. He really is an amazing young man and worthy of such an honor.

It was a great end of day celebration. Every time a community such as Lethbridge ties in the 25th anniversary Rick Hansen relay with one of their own events, it is a huge success!
Back down through the valley towards our hotel

This time a train going the other way. (and soon we will be to, towards Fort McLeod)

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