Friday, March 9, 2012

Days 193 and 194 Red Deer to Lacombe to Ponoka, Alberta

Day 193, back on shuttle one with Kayla. Our first medal bearer group of the day was back at the Arts Centre at Red Deer College.

the first group of the day is ready to go!

Gwen's daughter was waiting for her when she got off of the shuttle bus at her 250 metre segment.

and Jillian's friends and family were waiting for her as well. Here is a little bit about Jillian's difference making:

I support my community by helping out at the local Hospice with my sister. At the hospice, we pick up trash, pick weeds, shovel the walk, and

say hello to some of the people staying there. I think it's importanmt to help others.

Jillian was nominated by her school.
The convoy rolled into Riverview park in Red Deer, home of the Alberta sports hall of fame.

Another EMT (extraordinary mode of transport) for this segment, a horse and buggy.

Kayla and I had to get going to our next meeting point in Lacombe, as we left the park we actually passed the convoy heading in. Always great to see the medal bearers supporting each other, and continuing on after their segment is finished.

Next stop on our 273 day journey is Lacombe, population 11,700
Downtown Lacombe

We had a bit of time to grab a coffee at the local McDonald's. They had this poster up advertising a visit by the Relay.

Our medal bearer meeting point and our end of day celebration was at the Lacombe Memorial Centre. 
Lots of meeting space in the ballroom.

Team Jigger. Jason was in a car accident in January of 2011, that has left him a quadriplegic. His family and friends attended the medal bearer breifing wearing their team Jigger shirts. The back of the shirt has the date of his segment on the 25th anniversary Rick Hansen relay. As a fundraiser for Jason and his rehabilitation, they were selling the shirts for $20, it was worth it to pick one up. Here is the story about Jason sent in by his wife:

On January 14th, 2011, my families life changed forever. My husband, best friend and father of my three children was in a very serious motor vehicle

accident. He was hit from behind by a semi truck and flown to Edmonton by stars air ambulance. He broke his neck and suffered a complete

spinal cord injury on his C-6 and C-7 vertebra. My fun loving and hard working husband was diagnosed with quadriplegia. This was and is very

hard to to deal with as young family. Jason spent two weeks in ICU, five weeks on a neuro-surg unit and is currently six weeks into his therapy

at a rehabilitation hospital. His tentative discharge date is June 7th. Through this very challenging time Jason has remained very positive and

has said from the beginning that he is happy to be alive. He is so determined and has been working very hard get stronger and adapt to his

new body. He always has a smile on his face and tells his kids he is still the same Dad just has to do things a little differently. Jason and his

brother have owned their own business in Lacombe for over twenty years. He has been actively involved in his community that he grew up in as

a volunteer coach for ringette, hockey and football. He has also been a dedicated kinsmen member for the past sixteen years. Eleven of those

he was the treasurer of the club. Jason is the go to guy when things need to get done. He never says no when someone needs a helping hand.

It has been a very difficult adjustment for Jason who was so independent and always helped other to be asking for help. He continues to amaze

us all daily with his recovery and courage. He is so positive and a wonderful role model for the other patients on his unit. We are all lucky to

have this incredible man in our lives.

Medal bearer 18, Lisa, is surrounded by her own entourage, she's in there somewhere.

As the shuttle bus driver, it is my job to keep dropping off the medal bearers ahead of the convoy. So it was unfortunate when I did not get a chance to see Jason's segment, team Jigger was well over one hundred people walking with him for his moment with the medal,
including a kid's hockey team.

Our bike escort, Kenn, pauses for a moment in between the convoy and the shuttle bus. His job is to go ahead to the next medal bearer and stay with them until the convoy arrives.

Reflection time.

One of our larger turn-outs, not bad for a smaller town. There was a big contingent from Team Jigger.

Our end of day medal bearer, Anna-Louise, was a delight  to have in our group. She is 10 and has spina bifada. She was very upbeat and brightened up the room with her smile.
Jason says a few words of thanks.

Someone was very creative.

Jake hamming it up working the merchandise table with Jeremy.

After the end of day celebration it was time to say good-bye to Lacombe,
and head back 30 kilometres for one more night in Red Deer.

Squeaky clean for day 194!

back to the room, chill time, the hockey game is on the tube, Jeremy is playing online chess, and I am getting ready to do some bloggin!

Day 194, a balmy minus 3 celsius, and a hint that a bit of snow may be in the picture.
a last glimpse of Red Deer, as we continue north on the 25th anniversary Rick Hansen relay

The Red Deer river, which is where the town name came from.

Right turn, Clyde! today I am activation 3 (little bird), the 3 ton Penske truck, as part of the events team.

Highway 2 is the major artery between Calgary and Edmonton
I was on my way to the end of day celebration in Ponoka, population 6,800

that means leaving highway 2 and angling off on 2A

The GPS confirms

You don't have to go far to get into farm country.
Advertising support from one of our major sponsors.

Too many options, for now I am just staying put in Ponoka.

The end of day celebration was at the agricultural events centre. I was very curious when I saw all these livestock trailers parked at the building.

The events centre is less than a year old

The original artist's drawing.

Outside, Jake was getting a group shot with his medal bearers before they headed out on the shuttle.

In the ag centre, Ty makes a new friend (even I have more questions than answers on this one, but it sure is a funny picture)
The indoor arena was hosting a cutting horse competition.

On one side the riders were warming up.
 Ty and Jeremy, Wow boys, or should I say whoa!

It was fascinating to watch these guys in action, separating one cow from the rest of the herd.

Break time for some of the horses.

Outside, the 25th anniversary relay is approaching.
Some of my handy work, setting up the banners outside (always hoping the wind is blowing the right way.)

Jess walks with Bob, our final medal bearer of day 194.

Inside, Natalie and Sony, our endurance athlete, who is apparently doing a little plug for one of our sponsors.

A few words of congratulations from the local dignitaries
Bob adorns the 25th anniversary Rick Hansen medal.

Jaden, one of the day 194 difference makers is seen here with her father, an R.C.M.P. member  who wore his red serge today in honour of the relay and his daughter.

Jake is called upon to sing 'O Canada'

wrapping up day 194 with a group shot
but not before a little exercise session, aka the relay "warm-up" dance.

Before I started packing up all the events gear, I checked in one more time on the cutting horse competition

On the way out of town, I drove by the Ponoka fairgrounds, home of the 76th annual Ponoka Stampede.

downtown Ponoka

heading north thourgh towards our home for the next two nights, Wetaskiwin

A straight shot on highway 2A

Heading into the city, this area seems to have gotten a little bit more snow.

The Best Western Wetaskiwin
Looking out the hotel room window into the parking lot, what is that I see?

It is snowing, something we have pretty much avoided the entire relay. Day 195 could be interesting.

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