Dignitaries gather around Rick Hansen and the monument erected at the Tourism Discovery Centre in honour of his achievements. The monument was unveiled during a public ceremony on March 26.

Dignitaries gather around Rick Hansen and the monument erected at the Tourism Discovery Centre in honour of his achievements. The monument was unveiled during a public ceremony on March 26.

Monument a symbol of what’s possible: Hansen

Under sunny skies the community of Williams Lake gathered Monday for the unveiling of the Rick Hansen monument at the TDC.

Under sunny skies the community of Williams Lake gathered Monday for the unveiling of the Rick Hansen monument at the Tourism Discovery Centre.

Standing 12 feet high, the monument is basically a copper globe supported by four metal pillars, which some observers have said resembles the Olympic torch podium. A thick strand of copper traces the route of the original Man in Motion Tour.

“To have this as a symbol that we’re not done, that we still have such a long way to go. It represents Williams Lake connected to the global community. The world is much smaller today than it was 25 years ago. It’s not about an individual, it’s about all of us that had that original dream that we were pursuing, and how we’re all connected,” Hansen said after the monument was unveiled.

The monument, he added, is a symbol of what’s possible when people work together.

The ceremony began with a traditional welcome and presentation delivered by Esket’emc Chief Fred Robbins and members of his community, followed by speeches from Mayor Kerry Cook, Coun. Surinderpal Rathor and Ross MacLean, general manager of Gibraltar Mine.

Robbins gave Hansen a framed photograph of a pictograph, believed to depict Simon Fraser’s tour of the Fraser River.

“He was one of the first people to come up the Fraser River with a horse and on the pictograph it’s a man with a horse and you can see the horse’s tracks,” Robbins said, adding they call the picture Travels Far Man, and that it seemed appropriate for the Man in Motion to receive a copy.

He also gave Hansen a pair of buckskin gloves, handmade by a young member of the community, who received his instructions from an elder.

“I don’t know about you, but it’s so exciting to be this close to a change maker,” said Cook as she inched her way toward him during her speech. “I felt in my heart yesterday at the celebration as I listened to his words and what he’s accomplished that if I only got close enough that some of that might wear off on me. It really shows the importance of having a dream and never letting go,” Cook said.

Everyone here believes in what Hansen has done and what he stands for, she added.

Coun. Surinderpal Rathor announced that $68,000 in pledges had been collected from community sponsors.

“There was not a single person that said no they couldn’t help when I came asking for donations,” Rathor said. “He (Hansen) has put Williams Lake on the map.”

The list of donors was extensive. A few of the largest donations came from Taseko Mines Limited, $25,000:  Axis Family Resources, $10,000; and Fountain Tire Mining Service $10,000.

Rathor informed the crowd that some white rocks and lighting still need to be added at the monument, which is entirely wheelchair accessible.

“You have made this community wonderful,” he told Hansen.

MacLean said Hansen was a hero, not only in Williams Lake, but all over the province and the country.

“Through your high standards, you have set an example for everybody, an example for everyone to live up to. It’s an honour to be here to represent Gibraltar and Taseko and I think I speak on behalf of all the other contributors that it’s really been a privilege to support this monument and that represents all the values you represent,” he said to Hansen.

As the tarp was removed to uncover the monument there was a loud cheer and applause from the crowd.

“Thank you so much to the city to take time and honour our 25th anniversary in such a special and meaningful way. This city is such an incredible community of people that care and encourage each other and take time to make a difference,” Hansen said.

Williams Lake made a difference in his life and supported the Man in Motion tour, he added.

“In reality, even though we’re celebrating 25 years of progress, we’re also still on the pathway to the ultra marathon of social change. Another 25 years of hard work and determination until our community is 100 per cent inclusive for people with disabilities, until we find a cure for spinal chord injury,” Hansen said.

The monument, he suggested, is a monument to everyone with challenges and reminds them they are not alone.

“Every time I come back home I’ll see this and will be reminded that my best work’s still in front of me and I’ll be encouraged to keep going and never give up on my dreams.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
65 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Overall, B.C. is seeing a decrease in COVID-19 cases

Cariboo Chilcotin MLA Lorne Doerkson speaking in the legislature Monday, May 10. (Video screen shot)
Cariboo Chilcotin MLA calls for rural infrastructure renewal fund

Lorne Doerkson said central parts of rural B.C. devastated by flooding, crumbling infrastructure

(File photo)
Firearms offence at McLeese Lake tree planting camp under RCMP investigation

On May 10 Williams Lake RCMP were called to the camp, located at the 2200 block of Beaver Lake Rd.

Lil Mack has been a member of Cariboo Chilcotin Partners for Literacy since its inception. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Lil Mack of Williams Lake honoured with BC Achievement Community Award

Mack has been an ever-present, quietly powerful literacy force in Williams Lake for several decades

Thompson Rivers University (TRU) announced Tuesday, May 11 that all washrooms on its Kamloops and Williams Lake campuses will have free menstrual products by September. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
TRU to provide free hygiene products in all washrooms by fall 2021

“By signing the United Way’s Promise campaign, TRU aims to reduce barriers facing some students.”

A bullet hole is seen in the windshield of an RCMP vehicle approximately 4 km from Vancouver International Airport after a one person was killed during a shooting outside the international departures terminal at the airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Homicide team IDs man in fatal YVR shooting as police grapple with spate of gang violence

Man, 20, charged in separate fatal shooting Burnaby over the weekend

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Keith MacIntyre - BC Libertarian
Penticton’s Keith MacIntyre new leader of the B.C. Libertarian Party

The Penticton businessman was voted in by members of the party on May 8

RCMP are searching for Philip Toner, who is a 'person of interest' in the investigation of a suspicious death in Kootenay National Park last week. Photo courtesy BC RCMP.
Man sought in suspicious Kootenay death found in Lake Country

Philip Toner is a person of interest in the death of Brenda Ware

Vernon North Okanagan RCMP reported to 287 mental health calls between Jan. 1, 2021, and May 1. (Black Press files)
‘It’s not the police’s responsibility to deal with mental health calls’: Vernon RCMP

RCMP remind public to take care of mental health and well-being, while better solutions are sought

Thompson Rivers University campus is in Kamloops, B.C. (KTW file photo)
Thompson Rivers the 1st B.C. university to supply free menstrual products

The university will offer the products this September

Fraser Health is using ‘targeted’ vaccination clinics in high-risk areas of the Lower Mainland. (Fraser Health photo)
B.C.’s COVID-19 decrease continues, 515 new cases Tuesday

426 seriously ill people in hospital, up from 415 Monday

The site of Sunfest, Laketown Ranch, will be open for camping this summer. (Citizen file)
Sunfest country music bash won’t be shining on B.C. in 2021

Annual Vancouver Island Festival cancelled due to COVID-19, along with Laketown Shakedown

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation elected chief councillor Moses Martin, who was also Chantel Moore’s grandfather, speaks to media in Port Alberni on Aug. 16, 2020, during a visit from NDP leader Jagmeet Singh following the police shooting of Chantel Moore. (Elena Rardon photo)
Mother of 2 shot by police in critical condition, says B.C. First Nation chief

Community ‘devastated’ by third member of 1,150-person Vancouver Island nation shot in less than a year

Most Read