Sue and Brian Schierer wash and sanitize mats the will be used for beds for the B.C. Winter Games.

Sue and Brian Schierer wash and sanitize mats the will be used for beds for the B.C. Winter Games.

B.C. Games sleeping mats get Vernon scrub down

Volunteers entrusted to clean more than 1,700 mats that athletes and coaches will use for sleeping during the upcoming B.C. Winter Games

When his pal Larry Grist asked him to be the director of site preparation for the Greater Vernon B.C. Winter Games, Bob Advent immediately said sure.

“If I knew what the job entailed, I would have said no,” laughed Advent Friday morning as he, Grist and a dozen or volunteers were busy cleaning up the sleeping mattresses for the athletes and officials at Silver Star Elementary School.

“It’s a huge job.”

Advent’s role is to make sure the classrooms in the nine schools in the Vernon School District that will be used to house athletes and coaches during the B.C. Winter Games next month are ready.

Part of that role is to make sure the 1,700 single-bed-style sleeping mats that the athletes and coaches will sleep on in the schools during the Games are good and clean.

Advent and Grist decided to try and clean the first set of mats at their first school.

“The two of us, we cleaned 40 in an hour,” said Advent, who admitted he and Grist were quite taken aback by the site of the 1,700 mats stored in a Vernon School District warehouse.

“I believe we said, ‘Holy crap,’” said Advent.

On Friday, with a crew of volunteers to help, it took less than an hour to clean up 200 mats at Silver Star school, and store them in a classroom in preparation for the Games.

And, really, these mats, which move around to B.C. Winter and Summer Games locales, are now spotless.

“We removed a lot of gun and lots of other foreign matter such as fungus and mold,” said Advent. “Some of the mats were torn and damaged, so they won’t be used.”

After Friday’s cleaning excursion, five schools – Silver Star, Harwood, Fulton, Seaton and Kal – had their mattresses ready.

Still left to be done are Alexis Park, Beairsto, Ellison and Vernon Secondary.

While there are plenty of volunteers for the cleaning jobs, Grist – who is the director of accommodation for the Games in Vernon – is looking for people to help out on two specific dates.

“We need volunteers for room set-up at the nine school at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 22, and volunteers for take-down at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 26,” Grist. “We need lots of volunteers for those two days, and this is one volunteer position where you don’t have to have a criminal record check done.”

Anybody interested can volunteer at the B.C. Winter Games office on 31st Avenue downtown in the old Vernon Flower Shop building (behind Greyhound).