Vernon is on board with a national fundraising cause riding through town Monday.
A dozen Okanagan riders will take on the 83-kilometre leg from Kelowna to Vernon in the National Bike Ride for Youth.
The ride, which starts at 9 a.m. Monday, wraps up with a wind up party at Boston Pizza from 4 to 6 p.m. The community is invited to attend the event, which includes pizza and beverages, and help support the cause.
The complete 3,000-mile ride began Sept. 7 in Victoria and winds up in Montreal on Oct. 1. Riders include National Bank Financial investment advisors, their friends, family and clients, who have each been busy collecting a minimum $1,000 in pledges for the Free The Children’s Big Dreamers Award.
The award will go to students involved with Free the Children to donate back to the Adopt a Village country and project of their choice. There are multiple Free the Children initiatives in Vernon.
Clarence Fulton Secondary was involved in a project last year building a school in Kenya. Student Danika Serafin went on the Kenya trip and will be speaking about her experience at the wind-up event Monday.
Meanwhile Sherman Dahl, with the Vernon branch of National Bank Financial, is lacing up for Monday’s ride in support of the cause and his community.
“It’s a great concept,” said Dahl.
“It’s great for us because it goes to the community.”
Terry Curran, also with National Bank Financial in Vernon, is equally onboard with the ride due to the opportunities it creates for local youth.
“Any initiative done at the school level will be matched by National Bank Financial,” said Curran, before heading out for a lunchtime practice ride.
National Bank Financial’s executive vice-president from Montreal, Richard Rousseau, is joining in the Vernon leg of the race and the wind up-party afterwards.
Along with its support for North Okanagan youth, National Bank Financial has also made a dream come true for a local Habs fan.
Former Montreal Canadiens right winger Bobby Rousseau has ties to the investment management group as his son Richard is the executive vice-president of National Bank Financial.
One of Bobby’s biggest fans, Glenn Mitchell, grew up watching the the former all-star and Calder Cup winner play.
So when he heard about the connection to the hockey great he was in awe.
As a way of saying thank-you to Mitchell, managing editor of The Morning Star, for the newspaper’s sponsorship of the Ride for Youth, Dahl managed to get an autographed Rousseau jersey for the faithful fan.
“I just happened to mention that I was a fan,” said Mitchell, at a loss of words as he received the gift.
“He was my favourite player growing up.”
As part of the deal to get the jersey (Bobby only autographs jerseys if a donation is made to charity), the local branch donated $500 to Free the Children, while Mitchell also made a donation to the cause.
With his No. 15 jersey in hand, and a grin stretching from ear-to-ear on his face, Mitchell even managed to attract some attention on main street after his presentation at National Bank Financial.
“I’m so jealous,” said fellow Habs fan Dennis Labelle, who stopped on the street to admire the jersey while wearing a Canadiens T-shirt.
For more information on the ride or the charity and its projects, visit www.nationalbikerideforyouth.com