Nature clearly on Rick’s side

Castlegar chapter of Many in Motion Tour a large success

Ralph Lemphers

Ralph Lemphers

Do they know how to plan a relay… or what? If organizers of the Rick Hansen “Many in Motion” relay were hoping for calm sunny weather they hit the jackpot in Castlegar on Sunday.

Easily the warmest, most ideal day for strolling was on the menu for Castlegar’s leg of the tour.Starting out just before noon, a wide assortment of medal bearers took a turn being the focus of attention as the relay made it’s way through town.

Starting form the Tarry’s Fire Department the big medal was cooperatively transported by conveyances including a fire truck and emergency rescue truck (Tony Plonka) and the Brilliant Suspension Bridge (Laura and Erica Verigin.)Following these maneuvers just before noon the entourage broke for lunch at the Brilliant Cultural Centre.

Thus fortified, local area fire chief Brian Bebelman got the show back on the road.”I wrote the letter (bearer’s application) in regard to the Pass Creek Fire Department and the amount of (community-minded) work the department does in general,” said the chief prior to his 250 metres.

“It sort of went from there. I never thought it would end up with me actually doing it. So I’m excited, proud for the fire department and the communities of Pass Creek and Brilliant.”Heading out on the road with Bebelman were a couple of participants who would take their official turns chaperoning¬†the symbolic medal.

“It’s great to be carrying on what Rick Hansen did,” said Leeann Zaitsoff. “It’s pretty exciting to be doing this.”Displaying tremendous good cheer and tireless dedication was Otto Kamenzin, the relay’s operations director, no doubt selected in part due to those positive personality attributes, like the entire crew, for that matter.

Kamenzin was asked if there were any moments or locations along the trek (which had begun in Newfoundland last August) which had stood out in any way. It was asking a lot given that over 500 communities had been visited on the way to Castlegar.

“I must mention, the other day we rolled through Balfour and it was quite incredible to see. They got the community together, rallying about 100 people as we arrived in the fire hall.”

The relay continued along, pass the gateway to Robson, across the river and into Castlegar.Melissa Esovoloff, prior to passing off to her niece Tyanna, also said she was pleased by the opportunity to take part in the relay.”It’s so heavy,” she joked about the large medal as she completed her stint supported by her husband Ken, and children Ella and Owen.In the glorious spring heat, the first actually hot day, the procession made its way to refreshment stops at Glacier Honda and McDonald’s before a massive end-of-day celebration at the community complex.

It was obvious that everyone involved had done their city proud as the festivities got in gear at the rec centre.