Wolverine Nordic Mountain Society hosts “It takes a community to raise an athlete”

?It takes a Community to Raise an Athlete?: in an action packed dinner evening on November 7th at the Golf Club, attended by 80 Tumbler Ridge residents, the Wolverine Nordic and Mountain Society (WNMS) recognized its many volunteers and celebrated the impressive achievements of Tumbler Ridge athletes in 2006.

Vice President Crys White welcomed the guests and read out a message of congratulations from WNMS President Fred Booker. Charles Helm then showed the audience the awards that WNMS has received over the years, reviewed the WNMS commitment to the ideals of the True Sport organization, and read out a letter received from True Sport (see separate article). The new large format Emperor?s Challenge posters were then unveiled, and developments for the Tumbler Ridge trail system were shared.

After Linda Helm paid special tribute to the WNMS volunteers who make all the organization?s events and programs possible, the Museum Foundation?s concept of a Tumbler Ridge Sports Hall of Fame was introduced. The first nominee is Jason Delesalle, and his amazing athletic career was described, followed by an inspiring address by his parents Sue Ellen and Al Johnson.

Special guests were Mayor Caisley and Mrs Caisley, and the Mayor then presented the Wolves Series Awards to Tumbler Ridge runners. The series is held across the BC and Alberta Peace Regions each fall, and there are twelve categories. Amazingly, Tumbler Ridge runners from a wide age range won six out of these categories (Birgit Sharman, Carina Helm, Laura Sharman, Tyler Schlief, Christopher Mackay, Julie Schlief) with many others gaining impressive placings. Before leaving for a Council meeting, Mayor Caisley was able to present plans for the athletics track which is due to be built in the spring of 2007. This track will make an enormous difference to the community and its athletes.

WNMS statistician Birgit Sharman then reviewed the Flatbed Loops Monday evening runs, which have now taken place over three summers. Incredibly in 2006 around 150 people took part, including an all time record of 70 on one evening. Corporal Peats then praised all the athletes and presented True Sport pins to the entire cross country running squad that has trained so long and hard this year. AES Wapiti was recognized for their sponsorship of special team shirts for the runners.

Coach Linda Helm the presented certificates to the six runners who qualified to go to the provincial cross country running championships in Victoria, and who ran so well. The evening concluded with a 15 minute DVD presentation put together by Rodger Legault, using footage from many track and field and cross country events from 2006.

It was suggested by many of those attending that this event, which celebrates excellence, participation, healthy lifestyles and volunteer dedication, should be held on an annual basis.