Locals chosen as Olympic volunteers

It was with great glee and honour that four long time friends discovered that they had been selected to volunteer at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games. And the best part, they say, is they get to revel in the experience together.

It was with great glee and honour that four long time friends discovered that they had been selected to volunteer at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games. And the best part, they say, is they get to revel in the experience together.

Lorrie and Rick Rhodes, Claudia Blair and Graham Smith — all Tyee Lake residents — are now preparing to head to Vancouver for the experience of a lifetime at the Games, each holding different volunteer positions.

“We have all been friends for a long time and have worked side by side volunteering for many groups, including the Stampede association for many, many years, both the Northern Winter Games and the BC Winter Games, the Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence awards, Canada Day celebrations, and many other events over the last several years,” Lorrie says.

“So this was a natural thing for us to try to do.”

More than 60,000 applicants threw their names in the hat to be selected as volunteers, with only 25,000 jobs to be handed out. Potential volunteers applied from around the world to work at the Games.

The local foursome, since being selected, has been through screening processes, initial orientations, and are now expecting to be called down to Vancouver at least one more time for training.

“Between the four of us, we’ve got lots of background and experience for this sort of thing,” Lorrie says.

“It’s just so great that the four of us, because we’ve done so much together, get to go,” Claudia adds.

Lorrie has been appointed to work at the Olympic Centre, where the curling venue is being held, as a team leader of a group of volunteers.

Rick, who has also been selected to carry the Olympic Torch somewhere between Prince George and Williams Lake on Jan. 29, was given the task of being a host at General Motors Place for hockey.

Claudia was given the task of being a victory celebrations driver in Whistler.

And Graham, who joins his wife Claudia at Whistler, will be a press assistant at the Whistler Media Centre for the Games.

And speaking on the magnitude of the Games, Lorrie and Claudia both say their employers were understanding and supportive in giving them time off to undertake their volunteer work.

“I think people will all remember it,” Claudia says. “This is a really positive thing, and I know we will.”

“I’m sure it will be an interesting journey, from all the training and up to the Games,” Lorrie says.