Tuesday, Ma

rch 21, 2017 

   Thursday, March 23, 2017 



A Hero's Welcome

Four men and a dog



Jean Beliveau stopped at Agassiz in 2011.


guy on an epic journey slogs across the country for kids, bikers doing toy rides, cops running through the city  and no one ever comes out to cheer them on.


Sorry to say that if this happened in the US,  our friends would be out there in droves.  Lining the streets hooting and shoving their fists in the air.


It boosts their hero's already deep-seated inspiration and even their "stamina" as one walker told me.

Back in the 70s, I went to the same school, same time as Terry Fox in PoCo. The whole town sat there with bated breath as he dipped his leg in the Atlantic. I remember the moment with clarity and feeling the nice warm April day. I hate to think what it would have been like for Fox if he didn't have cancer and ran across Canada. Would it have been the same and no one showed?

Author Eric Wilson at Decades last January. See his book with links on the main page.

Early last year, Eric Wilson, who in my opinion is the most prolific children's book writer in the history of Canada. Not because he' written 20 books, it was because I had the chance to meet him.  The man behind the books. A very compelling and worldly man.


He went through a few schools in Chilliwack on his book tour. Later, I met him at Decades. No one showed to meet him. I was more disappointed than he was. Lucky for me to I got a mono-on-mono with him. I remember talking too much.

It was 2011, when I ran out to Agassiz to meet iron man Jean Beliveau who was walking around the world for peace. It was in the middle of winter. Bloody cold. And here he is happily shoving his gear down Hwy 7 in a buggy. He started this epic land in Texas. But before I spoke with him on the phone, I knew he was a great man. He showed me his photo album and memorabilia over coffees.

Jean Beliveau shows his photo album of the trip over coffees. The school was kind enough to let us get in out of the cold.



His map of black lines scattered on the continents where Beliveau walked before he passed through Agassiz the day The Voice caught up with him.



Another hero with a great story behind him is Bret Mazriik who passed through Chilliwack in October last year.


He left his family behind and trudged across the country with his faithful dog Sacha wearing out seven pairs of shoes doing it. He noted some people were worried about the dog. For those who don't know, huskies are bred for the sled and born to run on one set of paws.


Of course I knew he was a great man before I picked up the phone to speak with him.


He was fundraising for children's mental health back east. I've yet to share his story with Voice readers.

Sadly, again, no one was there to meet him.

I spoke with him the night prior on the cel, but it was only by synchronicity that I met him in person. I immediately dropped what I was doing, ran out and gave him a hug. That doesn't make me special. Au contraire. It was to wish him God speed and thank him on behalf of Chilliwack city.


John Wichers a wonderful inspiration to all of us, especially youth.


How about John Wichers? A 79-year-old on an incredible journey alone via bicycle from Winnipeg to Chilliwack return. He was trying to raise enough money to buy ten handicapped kids special bicycles. Thank God he got the $30,000 needed.


I met him at the Royal Hotel. A couple of months later he retuned to Chilliwack, this time via vehicle and with his wife to the Royal Hotel where he turned it around and headed for home once again.


Here's a man with a strong Dutch background and accent. I figured the place would be jam-packed with locals. No one showed. Surprised?


Imagine for a moment what it would be like to ride to Mission and back. Now, think about riding across three provinces return on bicycle at his age.


There was quite a reception as he wheeled down that last mile home. And what a mile.


What's next for Wichers? Nothing less than jumping 72 floors from a tower in a fundraiser for Winnipeg kids.

To say the least it's embarrassing that no one shows up to meet these great heroes who share their love and passion for what they're doing.

I guess you're tired of reading 'no one showed'.

We have to remember what John Kennedy meant when he said: "It's not what your country can do for you. It's what you can do for your country" even if it's only just to go out and cheer a hero.








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