Vancouver, BC — Eighteen members from the Soldier On program embarked on a nine-day, whirlwind tour of the Vancouver 2010 Paralympics with their families March 9.
The group planned to get the full Paralympic experience as they started the week off with a wheelchair curling clinic. The clinic was held at the Vancouver Curling Club and the group picked up some tips from one of the best wheelchair curlers in the world.
Wheelchair curling clinic
Chris Daw was the skip for Canada’s wheelchair curling team, which won gold, at the Torino 2006 Paralympic Winter Games. Daw spent the morning with the group explaining the fundamentals of the game and giving everyone a chance to send a few rocks down the ice.
The Soldier On program, and the complementary Soldier On Fund, aims to encourage ill and injured Canadian Forces personnel to attain and maintain a healthy and active lifestyle.
General Motors Place was the scene where both the men’s and women’s Olympic hockey teams won gold, so there was no better place for the Soldier On crew to try out the sport of sledge hockey. The group was joined on the ice by Minister of National Defence Peter MacKay, along with some of their counterparts from Great Britain, who belong to the Battle Back program.
The highlight of the trip for the participants was attending the Paralympic opening ceremony in which two members of the Soldier On program played a very important role. Sergeant Karen McCoy and Master Corporal Mike Trauner raised the Paralympic flag in front of more than 60,000 people at BC Place stadium.
“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It’s fantastic; I never thought I’d have the chance to experience the Olympics,” said MCpl Trauner.
Article and photos by Sgt Dan Milburn.
Sgt Milburn is a reporter with Army News, Edmonton.