Sunday, April 29, 2012

Days 243 and 244 Nelson to Castlegar, B.C.

Day 243, no time to get settled, after 3 days, we're moving out to Castlegar. (I will miss this view!)

a last look at downtown Nelson.

 Jake and I head west on Highway 3A and 6 towards our medal bearer meeting point in Crescent Valley.
It's about a 20 minute drive from Nelson.

We had the privilege today of having Carl as one of our medal bearers today. I do believe he is our oldest medal bearer at 97 years young, and Jake had his work cut out for him, Carl was a pretty feisty guy! 
The Crescent Valley team is ready for their part in the 25th anniversary relay. Our group today included Cody and Anna (center), who are brother and sister. Here is a little about Cody, as sent in by his mother:

This is Codys MOM sending this in for him. The day he turned 14 Dec 19 2007 he was told that he had an AVM and that things were not good.

After what was only a miracle and a 12.5 hr operation he survived. Paralized and half blind he worked hard to get on his feet again.Then the big

one hit one day before he was to finish physio for right side peralisis from the brian surgery. One year from the last very bad news, he was told

that he had cancer in the right leg. Devastated he said " I just learned how to walk on that leg and now they want to take it off." Yes Cody did

loose his right leg and went through 9 months of chemo. This year he graduated from Mount Sentinel School in Crecent Valley. He walked down

the stairs for the grand march on his new leg. Cody has a recumbent bike that he needs more practice on. Also he is a little self conscious about

riding it, makes him different. I think it would be awesome for him to see Rick Hansen in motion.... Thanks Nancy  ( Cody's mom)

After that powerful medal bearer segment and Crescent Valley, Jake and I headed to our new home for two nights, Castlegar, (population about 7,800) for the end of day Celebration.

Crossing the Columbia River.

We had time to check in at our hotel before the end of day celebration, and I instantly made a new friend outside of the restaurant! (the Black Rooster)
the community of Castlegar provided a lot of entertainment for the 25th anniversary Rick Hansen celebration. This is the Vision of Peace local youth choir.

The site of the end of day was at the Castlegar Community Complex which conveniently had a gym that I was able to get to on day 244

A good sized crowd was on hand for the celebration

And here comes Jordan, with the end of day medal bearer on day 243, Brayden. This was a very emotional moment for a lot of friends, family, relay staff, and the community, as Brayden was walking in honour of his grandfather, Tommy, who was orginally the community pick to be the medal bearer, but passed away recently.
Our relay director Jamie addresses the crowd and introduces Joey, our endurance athlete. It's Joey's last day with us on the relay, his third stint.Joey epitomizes what the 25th anniversary Rick Hansen relay is all about, and he will be deeply missed by us all.

The group shot

With the help of the local dance school, and Ronald McDonald,

Time for the warm-up up dance! Here is a link to to video sent in by school kids in O.K. Falls, B.C., a town we haven't even been to yet!
The Twin Rivers Chorale group entertained.

Jeremy and Hank bonding!

The best was saved for the last, (unfortunately a lot of the people had gone home) this old time country band really got the joint jumpin!

Day 244 outside our hotel. It was an event day today, and what an event it was!
A page in the local paper, yes the wait is over!

Hank and I set out in the events truck (little bird), to the Hugh L.Keenleyside Dam just north of town.

where there's smoke (steam),

there's a pulp mill, (and a lumber mill) just downstream from the dam.
and just beside the dam is where we are setting up our display

This Killdeer was none to happy  we were setting up so close!

Looking downstream on the Columbia River.

If you build it, (the display that is) they will come. School kids from all around the area arrived for....
Another sturgeon release! This is the second one the Rick Hansen relay has been involved with (first one in Creston). Here is the story the local newspaper printed:

The man in motion himself, Rick Hansen, was in Castlegar on Monday for the West Kootenay Juvenile Sturgeon Release at Hugh L. Keenleyside Dam.

"It's been phenomenal, coming back to Castlegar 25 years later and seeing the incredible enthusiasm and response," said Hansen. "I was able to meet people that were there 25 years ago and hear their stories about when they ran with me or how they were inspired. I also got to hear what people have been doing over the last 25 years and meet young people who weren't there 25 years ago and see their enthusiasm and also to be part of this incredible release of juvenile sturgeon right at the banks of the Columbia."

Hansen, along with several busloads of school children, released young sturgeon into the Columbia River as part of a program designed to help save the endangered species.

"Each one of the kids that are here are making a difference by being connected with the sturgeon and releasing them," he said. "They'll be able to follow their story and their journey and learn that we need to think about what we can do to create a healthy and inclusive world."

Before releasing the sturgeon, Hansen addressed the large crowd and talked about the importance of preserving the endangered fish.

"It was great to be able to thank the people that make this possible," he said. "Events like these don't just happen, it takes a tremendous about of partnerships and takes a community."

Hansen took the time to take pictures and chat with most of the children as well as many adults at the event. He also expressed appreciation for the efforts of workers who were able to build a ramp to the water so he could roll his wheelchair right up to the riverbank and release the sturgeon.

"People really worked hard at this pathway so I could get down to the waterside, so I could do the release," he said. "Hopefully, that makes people realize that we still have work to do and we can all make a difference."

What a great learning experience for the kids.

The city of Castlegar, B.C. Hydro and the Fish and Wildlife people were all on hand today. Under these tents were displays about the sturgeon and activities for the students.

The kids peek into the release tanks
Meanwhile, Jordan explains the Rick Hansen story and shows the students the 25th anniversary Rick Hansen medal.

I did not get a good look at the dam but this rock hillside is an indication of the scale of the project.

There's mama Killdeer, still a little miffed with us.

and no wonder! She is sittiing on 4 eggs!

the school busses kept coming for about 3 hours.

One of the fish and wildlife crew explains the sturgeon story. Around 1,500 juvenile sturgeon were released today.

and then they're gone.
We were lucky enough to release our some of the sturgeon ourselves again. I let 6 go myself.

What's all the fuss about?

There he is, the man in motion himself, Rick Hansen. He is a big supporter of the sturgeon release program.

Rick always has time for people.
The students and the public gather at the water's edge to watch Rick release some sturgeon.

But first a few words from the dignitaries

This is a close as I was going to get to seeing Rick release the sturgeon. The roped off area is where the Killdeer nest was, people were starting to get a little too close.

and without further adieu, let's go release some fish!
It's a special moment, I was very proud to be a part of it!

I'm not quite sure what to say about this pic, but I will tell you these "animals" did eventually release the sturgeon.

and chance for a work-out, and Kyle will take it!

 He was still chatting with people after the event, even though Rick had to get going to the airport in Castlegar to fly back to Vancouver.

Scott, Deena, and Ty, hammin' it up in a photo op with a cut-out of Rick!
Back at the hotel, they were short of room, so some of the staff got upgraded? to some of the theme rooms. Here Russ and Jordan are marvelling in the Harry Potter room.

I wouldn't be able to sleep!

I'm sure for fans it was pretty cool

six bunks, enough for Jordan, Kayla, Jane, Heather, Russ, and one more! (not me!)

Billy celebrates the end to day 244 on the relay, another one to crow about!