Friday, August 14, 2009

World Police & Fire Games 2009 Closing Ceremonies

I have been itching to get these photos up sine the weekend and now finally have a few moments and some energy to do so so here they are, the final photos of the World Fire and Police Games of 2009! This first set was taken at the Vancouver Convention Center on Saturday. My son came down with me to but some souvenirs, as he plans to join the police force in a couple of year when he's of age.

I had the rare opportunity to not only photography but to hold the gold and silver metal in my hands at one point, as an official was getting ready to transport a box of medals and said his driver and I could look at them. (The perks of being in Transpo!) As you can see from the photos, the medals were beautiful.

The second round of slides is Swanguard Stadium at the Closing ceremonies and volunteer appreciation. It began with a BBQ for the volunteers and they gave us some gifts (swag) as well as food and then when the festivities got started there was a parade of atheletes. It was really very heartwarming because it allowed them to acknowledge us for the work we'd done to help them have a successful games (everything and anything you can imagine you would do to run a sporting event for over 10,000 athletes, official, VIPs, their families and then that's not even counting the public spectators and over 3400 volunteers!) and also allowed for us to congratulate them on their participation and garnering of medals.

There was just this warm rush of good will between the athletes and the volunteers as they paraded in-they were clapping and cheering for us and throwing gifts at us into the stands-Frisbees, hats, t-shirts, keychains, pens, footballs, you name it and we we were on our feet clapping and waving and cheering for them. At that moment, there were no countries, no differences, nothing but a sense of community and harmony. It was a beautiful and uplifting thing. It made me very excited for the Olympic and Paralympic Games which, as of this past Wednesday are only 6 months away!

This last set is the entertainment we had for the evening. The Abbotsford airshow was on and they arranged to have the Snowbirds. which if you are American, it the equivalent of the Blue Angels. They came out and flew over the stadium 5 times and it was just breathtaking. What a wonderful surprise that was!

We also had a presentation by a drumming circle from the Squamish First Nations who are one of the 5 nations who are in partnering in hosting the 2010 games. The did three different songs. One was the eagle song, one I can't remember what it was for and the last to honour all the forest fighters around our province fighting hard to save our lands and homes. (We've had awful forest fires this year-I think it's the worst year in recent history.)

Following that, we had Canadian rock band Trooper play. They did old favourites like "Raise a Little Hell", "Two for the Show", "We're Here for a Good Time" and "3 Dressed up as a 9". It got quite late and I headed home as it was heading for ten as folks from transpo had had some really long hours and we were all tired.

It was so much fun to meet some of the athletes and to trade shirts and hats. I managed to score a couple of caps for Deb's son Whit who right this moment is out in California on his very first forest fire. I figures it would be meaningful for him to have some swag from the games. I traded for a hat from the Melbourne, Australia Fire Brigade with a fireman who won a gold medal and I got a spare WPFG volunteer hat that has the games logo on it for him. I can't wait to send them off!

I also had a Montreal firefighter who was a hockey player ask to trade with me for some bracelets I had for his game shirt. It was white and red and so we traded. I knew my son would want that shirt and it fit perfectly and it did.

The next games will be hosted in NYC in 2011 (they are held bi-annually) and will be on the 10th anniversary of 9/11. I am sure that's going to be a very emotional gathering and something spectacular to see.

Taking part in this games was an amazing experience and I am *SO* glad I did it. I met some amazing human beings, had a ton of fun, learned some new skills (I know know the ins and outs of dispatch and using a mike phone!) and had the deep satisfaction of giving back to our emergency service workers. When I saw honorary spokes person Michale J. Fox on TV asking people to volunteer, how could I say no? I am so glad I got involved. It was everything I could have asked for and more.

* Next post: Catching up on all sorts of interesting tidbits!

1 comment:

I need orange said...

Very cool to hear about all this! Thank you for sharing it with us!