Friday, September 21, 2007

Bright's Grove, ON

September 4, 2007
Bright's Grove, ON


David and Casey returned to school today. We will all need some time to digest and internalize the events of the Great FASD Horseback Ride Across Canada.

A significant part of the physical journey was accomplished on horseback, but we suffered the loss of Brandi, Errin Weigel's Arabian mare. We continued on with our little plastic horse on the roof of the van and 215 horses under the hood. The journey covered some 22,000 km round trip, involved hundreds of people, shared knowledge among hundreds of people and made thousands of people more aware of FASD. There were many organized public and private events and hundreds of teaching moments on the trek. It was not an immediate financial success but it was a practical and moral success.

My descriptions in this Blog have been more of a travelogue nature than in-depth FASD story sharing. Those will come. We returned home with more than 2,700 digital still photo images and 7 1/2 hours of video. These have been transferred to my office computer and presentations are a work in progress. There is much to add to the material we collected, much to digest and many more stories to compile into the finished works. Obviously that volume of material cannot be gelled into a 60 minute presentation. It will be broken into many short sessions that will serve various parts of the country and various constituencies.

I have omitted many names in the blog for brevity and because it is impossible to remember the names of all the people we have met on the journey. However, as I sort through the Ride Registry and the business cards, those names will be included in the presentations.

I will also be transferring the names of the eligible riders on the registry to a database to produce the draw tickets for Errin Weigel's foal. Please be patient. I am also catching up on shipping of CD's and T-shirts for those who made on-line donations. I am one person doing this job. "My Kingdom for a horse"? Nae. My kingdom for a good secretary. :-)

For those we have met on the journey, if you have photos, video or personal stories you want included in our final works, please send them to me at:

Bruce Ritchie
FASlink
2448 Hamilton Road
Bright's Grove, Ontario
N0N 1C0
or
E-Mail: info@faslink.org

Thanks to all those who have been so kind and generous to us across this incredible land. The Great FASD Horseback Ride Across Canada has accomplished much and is only resting. It has not ended. We have touched many communities along the main routes of the country, but many remain to be seen. We have discovered lessons on the journey which also need to be shared with those we saw earlier in our travels. We also have some ideas for 2008 that can continue what was started in 2007.


A special thank you to McDonald's Restaurants. Near the beginning of our journey we were told by a McDonald's manager to always talk to the manager first before we order a meal and let them know about the ride. They may want to contribute the meal to the Ride. I am delighted to say that all across Canada, McDonald's have in every case provided our meals when we have visited their restaurants. In every case it was an individual decision by the manager. As a long time entrepreneur (35+ years) I am extremely impressed at their corporate culture of community support and the willingness of the individual managers to support our cause. Well done McDonald's. Once again, Miigwetch. Thank You.

I extend thanks to Steve Thomas our lead rider who inspired the Great FASD Ride. Although he could not be physically with us on the journey after Brandi died, he still wants to make the entire trek, step-by-step.

I also extend thanks to Claudia Julien, our Ride Coordinator. She dedicated hundreds of hours to contacting people across Canada in the FASD community and the horse communities. Dozens of events would not have taken place without her efforts.

And I thank my son, David, and his best friend, Casey Newby, for their help, work and dedication for the summer break. They were excellent travel companions and extremely helpful at events and the camps. We all climbed mountains - on the landscape and within ourselves. A summer to remember.

I am available to present at workshops and can be contacted at the above address or by phone at:
Landline (519) 869-8026
Cellular: (519) 331-6408
Stay tuned. Miigwetch. Thank you.
Bruce Ritchie


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