As one of the organizers of the Emily Brydon Day I worried about the weather, would it rain or snow the way it did last week?
Would people turn out for the event? Could we get all the details accomplished in just a couple of weeks?
I didn’t need to worry, the committee comprising of Mike Delich, Patty Wortley, Karen Pepper, Jocelyn Sombrowski, Cindy Corrigan, Sharon Switzer, Shawn Ivany, Allan Knibbs, Krista Turcasso and myself met three times and cemented plans. Each person had several jobs to do and in a couple of weeks a celebration was organized that included a parade with pipers, kids carrying flags, large puppets, RCMP in red serge, police car and Studebaker fire truck carrying the guest of honour Emily Brydon, her mom Rosemary and Mayor Corrigan.
The parade wound its way through Victoria Avenue down Ninth Street to end up at the Community Center where presentations took place.
The Center had been decorated with Canadian flags and numerous posters of Emily. Eight colourful bibs were on display on the walls as were red Olympic mittens and flags made by Fernie Secondary and Isabella Dicken school kids. A table was set up so that Emily could sign the postcards made up especially for this occasion. Behind the signing table hung replicas of bronze, silver and gold medals made by Fernie Academy. The building was packed to capacity with people of all ages.
Kevnin Gifner was MC and did a great job guiding the program that began with young Ocean Wells singing O’ Canada and a presentation of fresh flower bouquet by Hallie McLaughlin representing the youth of Fernie. Mayor Corrigan presented a plaque and key to the City and announced that Emily will be on the Wall of Fame and that the Annex Trail will now be known as the Emily Brydon Trail.
Andy Cohen of RCR presented Emily with a sign showing that Spruce Run has been renamed to “Emily’s”.
MP Jim Abbot and MLA Bill Bennett sent letters of Congratulations and expressed their regret at not being able to attend.
Max Gartner Director of Operations for Alpine Canada spoke on behalf of the ski team saying Emily will be missed but she will always have a special place with the group. Other speakers were present to sing high praises to Fernie’s three times Olympiad including Dr. Rod Geddes on behalf of the Fernie Ski Team.
As well a video about Emily was shown; the Community Choir sang “We are the Champions and Oh Happy Day” and popular band Shred Kelly entertained. This Band has shot up quickly on the music scene and was one of the groups chosen to entertain during the Olympics in Vancouver.
It turned out to be a glorious sunny day, perfect for the parade, people came for the presentations, enjoyed the music and the barbeque with proceeds going to the Emily Brydon Foundation.
An emotional Emily took the stage to thank all of the people who have helped in her career as well as her many friends and supporters. She was clearly overwhelmed by the show of support by the people of the place she still calls home. She said she never thought she would be able to compete with those skiiers from places like Whistler but she skied just because “I loved it so much”.
The community loves you, I said to Emily, instantly she replied “I love them right back”, there is no doubt she certainly does. As everyone commented Emily has remained humble, she is an international star but is still a kind and thoughtful young woman but most of all she has never forgotten her roots. Our community knows this and that’s why they came to celebrate her success.
Of course no event would be successful without the help of all the great volunteers that we have in our town, there are too many to mention individually but some certainly need to be recognized, Fernie Firefighters, Bernie Pulsifer, Roy McLean, RCMP, Claris Media, Grant Laird, Neil McDermid, Gert Miller, Fernie Overwaitea, City of Fernie, Rosemary Brydon, the organizing committee. To everyone that helped make this day successful thank you so much, you are the heart of community, the spirit of Fernie.