Those chosen to bear the 2019 Canada Winter Games torches come from all walks of life and span generations.
The names of 16 torchbearers were unveiled in a special ceremony at the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame Museum on Tuesday.
Among them is Kalian Odongo, who recently moved to Canada from Kenya and is a student at St. Francis of Assisi Middle School.
Joining her will be Don Moore, who is in his late 80s and is a Hall of Fame inductee in recognition of a lifetime of community involvement as an athlete, coach, referee, fundraising and sports builder, which includes time as chairman of the Alberta Sports Council.
For Moore, who was one of those who spearheaded the development of Red Deer’s much-admired Waskasoo Park system and was a key force behind the creation of the Dawe Centre, the honour of carrying the torch caps a wonderful career and decades of volunteer work.
Moore said he has no doubt that Red Deer will do itself proud hosting the games.
“It’ll be the best ever. As Red Deer is prone to do, we don’t do anything that isn’t the best ever.”
Former mayor Morris Flewwelling had no idea he had even been nominated to be a torchbearer. Games organizers sifted through 900 nominations before picking.
“It came as a bit of a surprise,” said Flewwelling, who is chair of Red Deer College. “I opened the letter one day and it said your nomination has been accepted and I thought, ‘hmmm, I didn’t know anything about that.’”
Flewwelling was mayor when council passed the motion to pursue a games bid and said the impact of the event will be huge.
“I’m quite confident we’re up to it. There’s a lot of excitement and a lot of work and it means a lot to our community.”
The MNP Canada Games Torch Relay officially started at the Centennial Flame on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Oct. 4. Before arriving in Red Deer, the torch will pass through 50 communities across Canada.
After the names were announced, a time capsule from the 1995 Canada Winter Games in Grande Prairie was opened. It was filled with banners signed by athletes and volunteers and numerous other pieces of memoriabilia from the event.
Other torchbearers announced Tuesday include:
l Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer
l Red Deer city manager Craig Curtis
l Red Deer County Mayor Jim Wood
l Erika Driesen, ringette player and swimmer
l Shelley Gagnon, volleyball player and coach
l Gary W. Harris, businessman, community builder and philanthropist
l Theresa “Corky” Larsen Jonasson, Cree and Metis elder and community builder
l Chief Wilton Littlechild, international sports and law champion
l Tim McLenahan, college basketball and volleyball coach
l Barb Miller, Red Deer South MLA
l Kim Schreiner, Red Deer North MLA
l Kalian Odongo, student and new Canadian
l Rick Van Hemmen, NOVA Chemicals leader