Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Days 253, 254, and 255 Kelowna to Summerland to Penticton, B.C.

Day 253 on the pace vehicle had the potential to be a little intense, but once Andrew put down his Avenger toy he got at McDonald's, things were back to normal! 

Our day started at the Rotary Centre for the Arts in Kelowna (population of almost 120,000)

First task is to get the bikes and the hand cycle out of the pace motorhome, and make sure everyone has their gear, their radios and and their game faces in check!

The actual start of day was at Kelowna Senior Secondary School. With over 1,600 students in attendance, I had to take two pics, the left, and
the right side of the gymnasium.

This school supports more than one cause, great to see!

including earth day, the point is made with this tree made out of plastic water bottles.

Home of the owls!
I was in the role of one of the coveted escort positions today.(something I haven't done since Thunder Bay, Ontario early in the new year (2012) And as the medal bearer escort today, I was part of an EMT mode (extraordinary mode of transport). The 25th anniversary Rick Hansen medal sailed across the harbour in Kelowa on a sailboat. Here is an awesome view of our home for the last 4 nights. I was on a pontoon boat following the sailboat with some of our other relay staff, including our photographer, Megan.

This EMT could not have happened without the Disabled Sailing Association of Kelowna.

Not a bad way to travel , no traffic no stress..........

The sailboat
and our  EMT medal bearer, Hans, who is a pioneer in disabled sailing in Kelowna

I happened to be looking out towards the W. Bennett bridge, and managed to get a shot of the pace motorhome heading over to "the other side"

 In life they say you shouldn't look back, but today it was hard not to.

Going under the bridge

I spy the motorhome as we get close to the dock.

Our relay pilot, Josh, was there to greet us!

another high school stop this time at Mt. Boucherie Secondary School in West Kelowna. (many people may know it as Westbank, it recently changed it name and has a population of just under 31,000
Looking out of the motorhome.

and we are off again, this time an endurance segment of about 2 kilometres to the Westbank First Nations band office.

We were once again honored by a traditonal first nations blessing that included a drumming ceremony

so many different elements of a relay day, from the spiritual first nations stop to a McDonalds sponsor stop in West Kelowna in less than 17 minutes!
as we kept rolling south on highway 97 we reached a community stop in the lakeside town of Peachland.( a municipality of about 5,200 people) A rare treat for me, I got to be one of the bike escorts, now watch me go!

Another cake provided by the community, another gym stop for Monty.

Peachland supports the Wheels in Motion program. They have a wheelchair made of PVC plastic, and the idea is to let disabled persons get in and enjoy the sensation of being in the lake. They have built a ramp down to the water that lets people enter the lake and enjoy the water!

A proud moment for myself today, back in my neck of the woods, Summerland and Penticton! a chance to walk around the street of my hood, and a chance to reacquaint myself with some of Summerland's difference makers. Here I am with Randy, a long time teacher, and someone I have coached and played hockey with over the years.
and the Summerland end of day medal bearer, Dale. Dale is one of those people that gets involved with everything in the community. He is the parks and rec. director, organizes the annual Summerland Action Festival, and was instrumental in the 25th anniversary Rick Hansen relay celebration in Summerland.

and Randy passes the Rick Hansen medal to Dale

Congrats guys!

There were a couple of hundred people on hand for the end of day celebration at the Dale Meadows sports fields.

Our emcee Billy, and the end of day medal bearer Dale

It was a great to see so many people in the crowd I knew. Summerland always knows how to throw a party!

On the way home a couple of us went for a walk on the Trout Creek Canyon railway trestle.(I have been on it many times, maybe that is why I forgot to take a picture of the actual bridge. )

the best part is how high up the trestle is, not for the faint of heart!

and then into Penticton to our home for the next 3 nights, the Coast Lakeside Resort. They have a big banner on the building cheering on the local hockey team, the junior A Penticton Vee's who have made it the the RBC cup Canadian championship in Humbolt, Saskatchewan

Day 254 was a blast from the past as we started our day with a school presentation at the Summerland High School. One of our pilot's , Andrew was busted when we found his grad photo!

A further walk down the hallway and I found my son's grad picture from 2008
The medal bearers are once again front and center for the 25th anniversary Rick Hansen relay celebration.

A brave young difference maker, Heather, was the school nominee for Giant Head's Elementary School in Summerland. Here is part of her story:

Heather was born September 16, 2001, 6 1/2 weeks premature. In March of 2003 she was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy (Spastic diplegia).

She has low muscle tone in her lower extremities and decreased trunk control. She has impaired balance, co-ordination skills. Her fine motor

skills were also affected together with her inability to walk without support of a walker or adult helper. She uses her Walker, manual chair and

power chair for mobility. Despite this, I believe Heather is a happy, healthy, thoughtful and well adjusted young lady who fully understands her

condition and has learned to live with it to the best of her ability.

The entire school braved the rain to support Heather. Once again, another humbling experience for myself.  

I am a little prejudiced, but Summerland schools Rock! the kids were all out at Summerland Middle School, and we were mobbed at Trout Creel Elementary!
We were graciously treated to lunch at the Summerland Yacht Club. They served us up steaks and salmon and salads, and dessert and back to the gym.....................

Into Penticton, my home town, for our final couple of  medal bearers before our end of day celebration at Gyro Park in Penticton.

It is so cool to meet so many exceptional people on this relay, like the day 254 end of day medal bearer, Amanda. This girl never stopped smiling the entire time she was with us. Here is her story:

Top 5 Reasons for my Nomination of Amanda Lewis for final medal bearer, Rick Hansen Relay Embraces Life: Amanda is 23 years old and has

dealt with Cerebral Palsy and a congenital amputation of her right arm since birth. She is a spastic quadriplegic, with visual impairment, who

uses a power chair for mobility. She has graduated from high school with honours, and is enrolled in college courses for business administration.

She says that she embraces her disability because it has afforded her so many opportunities to connect with a variety of different people. She

also believes her disability has allowed her to see the world from a somewhat slower pace, which gives her a keen appreciation for what is really

important in life. Long term Volunteer: Amanda began her volunteer work at age of 10 in a Day Care centre. She has worked for 14 years with

the Champs program of the War Amps. She has co- hosted the OSNS telethon with Mike Roberts for 3 years and has worked as the accessibility

Resource advisor and public speaker for Agur Lake Camp Society for 5 years. Agur Lake Camp is a not- for- profit group that is working to

establish a barrier-free facility for children and adults with special needs and their families, which is located 20 km. west of Summerland.

Inspirational: Amanda’s personal credo is that the “impossible just takes a little longer”. One small example is her recent publication of a book of

inspirational poetry. Another is I have seen her move an audience to tears then bring them to their feet with applause after she speaks.

Compassionate: Amanda is one of the most compassionate people I have ever met. She is amazingly intuitive and is genuinely and constantly

concerned for others and attentive to their needs.I have had the privilege of working with Amanda for the past 6 years and have watched her

grow to an accomplished young woman, who generously shares herself and her story for the good of others. I sincerely believe Amanda Lewis

is most worthy of this nomination.

Penticton really put together a first rate end of day, but unfortunately the weather was not co-operating, it was drizzling and very cool for this time of year.
The weather did not dampen these difference maker's day, that's for sure!

(note: my memory card seems to have lost about 20 pictures, so I will continue with the start of day 255, an event day in Penticton. We had two school presentations, (including the one I am working at Princess Margaret) a first nations ceremony at the Penticton First Nations, and one event at the  Agur Lake Camp above Summerland

The mandate of the Agur Lake Camp Society is to establish a barrier-free wilderness camp and recreational facility for children and adults with special needs and their families

"Maggie", where spirit makes you strong and the strong become champions
It was really a great experience to be part of the events team at this school presentation, I have not had many opportunities to watch an entire school presentation about the original man in motion tour and the 25th anniversary Rick Hansen relay.

Behind the scenes

In the crowd today, was one of the teachers, who was a medal bearer in Penticton on day 254

They also had a bake sale so I could not resist buying a couple of cupcakes, but I had no idea, our endurance athlete Matt was so fond of them as well!

Back at the hotel I ran into Josh and the amazing technicolour dream shoes!!!! One more night in my hometown, then off to Osoyoos!

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