Proud medal bearers complete Rick Hansen relay

Mona Mattei
By Mona Mattei
April 30th, 2012

Medal bearers braved the rain to participate in the Rick Hansen 25th Anniversary Relay passing through the Boundary last week.

The relay arrived in Christina Lake on Thursday, Apr. 26 and continued through Grand Forks, Greenwood and Midway involving a new community medal bearer volunteer every 250 meters. In each community the Relay team offered a celebration for the medal bearers complete with presentations of commemorative medals, a round of O Canada and a dance party.

Arriving at the Grand Forks arena, a crowd of family and friends escorted the volunteer medal bearers who convoyed into the parking lot from Highway #3 at 19 Street. Once inside, they were welcomed by the mayor, Brian Taylor, and the relay co-ordination team.

“These people (medal bearers) are representing those same values that Rick Hansen showed us 25 years ago – of courage, determination and of willingness to make a difference in their community, province, and their country,” said Jamie Levchuk, director of the relay. “That’s why we wanted to do the relay – we wanted to recognize these people.”

Twenty-five years to the date of his Man In Motion World Tour commencing its historic cross-Canada journey back to British Columbia, Canadian hero Rick Hansen continued his journey of making the world more accessible and inclusive with the announcement of the Rick Hansen 25th Anniversary Relay.

Beginning on August 24, 2011 in Cape Spear, Newfoundland and Labrador – the easternmost point in North America and approximately 15 kilometres south-east of St. John’s – the 25th Anniversary Relay started to retrace the Canadian segment of the original tour, but this time one man in motion is represented and celebrated by many in motion; engaging 7,000 participants from across Canada who have made their own difference in the lives of others.

Grand Forks’ last medal bearer for the day was Jock MacKay, a freeman of the city and local resident who has put hundreds of volunteer hours into the community. After the official medal was put into its honorary box for the day, MacKay was given his commemorative medal. All official medal bearers were awarded commemorative medals to keep for their participation.

Along with community medal bearers, the longer distances of the relay were covered by endurance athletes. Tyler Mosher, the endurance athlete who ended his section of the relay in Grand Forks, is walking today because of scientific advancements. Mosher crushed a vertebrae and broke his back in nine places in a snowboarding accident in 2000. Today, he is a para-olympic athlete in cross-country skiing and a world champion adaptive snowboarder.

“Through the advancements and the awareness…of what Rick did 25 years ago, I now walk,” said Mosher. “I can’t run, I can’t jump, there are several hundred things I can’t do, but there’s several millions of things I can do. Anything is possible – I’m living proof of it.”

To close off the event, the crowd joined in to sing O Canada and the end of day traditional dance.

Click to enlarge and view the photos below, watch the video to see family and friends!