Last week Rick Hansen gave V.I.A. readers a VIRTUAL HIGH FIVE from Newfoundland as he set out on his 25th Anniversary Relay. As we reported, the relay consists of 7,000 participants from across Canada who have made a difference in their own communities and in the lives of others. They’ll be walking, wheeling and running in the nine-month, 12,000 kilometre Relay that retraces the route of Rick’s original Man In Motion Tour through 600 communities.
Instead of a baton or a torch each of the 7,000 participants will be passing this fine silver medallion across the country, to ultimately wind up here in Vancouver on May 22nd, 2012. It was produced by the Royal Canadian Mint who have also made participant medals as keepsakes as well as a smaller replica that anybody can PURCHASE off of their web site. Included in every purchase is a $2 donation to the Rick Hansen Foundation.
I had the pleasure of speaking with the Senior Engraver on the project, Susan Taylor. Susan has 30 years of experience and her role in this project was to develop the artistic design of the medallion and work with engineers to make something extra special, and I think you’ll agree that’s exactly what it is.
Photo: Erin Taylor
Start to finish it took about 3 months and Susan had a team of 12 people working on it, inspired and guided by Rick and the crew at his foundation. If you look closely below at this photo of the front of the medallion you’ll notice that there’s a subtle pattern on it. That’s the texture of the palm of an actual cycling glove worn by Rick on his original Man in Motion Tour 25 years ago. Susan did a great deal of research leading up to the project and came into it with the knowledge that the glove had first gone around the world with Rick on his original tour, then again in 2007 when Canadian astronaut Dave Williams took it into orbit around the planet on the U.S. Space Shuttle Endeavour. She thought it would be incredible to bring the glove on a third trip, this time across Canada around the necks of thousands of proud and inspired Canadians. You’ll notice the stitching and the wrinkles but if you look even closer you’ll see that even the texture of the fabric and the grain of the leather is there. That’s what 30 years of experience will give you: the knowledge of how to bring that idea into the real world in silver.
I asked Susan if she remembered the original Man In Motion Tour and the Hamilton, Ontario native responded with great enthusiasm. As somebody who is hearing impaired Rick’s story has always been inspiring to her. 25 years later he continues to show the world that people with disabilities can achieve great things and offer great contributions to society, and she’s proud to be a part of the team that brought an important part of the this relay to life.