Tour Team

"I had an amazing team. They challenged, encouraged and supported me and asked nothing in return. I feel incredibly privileged to have had them with me. Without them, the dream would have been absolutely impossible.” - Rick Hansen

For Rick, collaboration is key to success. As he was building his team for the Man In Motion World Tour (MIMWT), Rick chose individuals that he knew he could count on, who trusted his leadership, and most of all, who shared his commitment to the dream.

In time, the overall team would expand to include volunteers and supporters across Canada and around the world. The closest and longest-serving teams were known as the Road Crew and the Home Team: those who travelled with Rick around the world, and those who held down the fort at headquarters in Vancouver.

Road Crew

When the team said goodbye to the crowd gathered at Oakridge Shopping Centre on March 21, 1985, they had no idea of the adventures and challenges that lay ahead. For the next 26 months, this core team would share a 20-foot motor home and embark on a journey for which they were largely unprepared.

They battled windstorms, torrential downpours, plagues of wild dogs, scarcity of food and supplies, poisonous gases, fires, robberies, impossible terrain and dark, dark days. Despite this, they continued their gruelling journey through one country after another.

Rick and the team travelled over mountains, through valleys, across oceans and deserts, and through snow and ice. They often worked 20 hours a day to keep up with demands, and were challenged to get the message out.

Along the way, they were also met with warmth, generosity and affection from those who learned of their goal. They met the Emperor of Japan, and the Pope (who blessed the Tour) in Rome. They crossed the Allenby Bridge between Jordan and Israel and in China, Rick conquered the Great Wall and won the hearts of the people.

To learn more about the Man In Motion World Tour road crew, read the biographies below.

The Home Team

The Home Team of administrative staff and volunteers started with a meeting that Rick held with a small invited group. During the meeting he shared his dream and from there a committee was formed.

As momentum grew, so did the structure. A Board of Directors was established and staff added through temporary grant-supported and loaned-staff programs. The B.C. Paraplegic Foundation and B.C. Sports Hall of Fame Boards influenced the loan of office space and donated furnishings and equipment. The Tour Headquarters was born.

The Beginning

The initial staff team included Nancy Thompson (who would leave to join the road crew), Marion Lay, Patti Lueke, Muriel Honey, Christine Hansen (Rick’s sister) and Edie Ehlers.

The 1987 World Tour Board of Directors included Cliff Andstein, Fin Anthony, Russ Anthony, Ian Bell, Jim Cox, Bob Hindmarch, Shayna Hornstein, Don Junker, Edgar Kaiser, Bill McIntosh, Doug Mowat, Philip Owen, Sandy Pinkerton, Patrick Reid, Dal Richards, Darcy Rota, Marshal Smith, Stan Stronge, Cecil Walker and Jim Watson (Chair).

Challenges at Home

After Rick and the road crew left Vancouver on March 21, 1985, the biggest challenge was balancing the work between these two teams. Those who worked tirelessly at headquarters had to accept that the road crew would receive the lion’s share of media attention, glamour and glory. For this hard-working, stay-at-home team, the greatest reward was knowing that they were doing everything possible to ensure success. Every day, additional volunteers would come out to help headquarters - both in Vancouver and across the country.

There were lots of challenges along the way: solving problems with Rick half a world away was both the highest priority and greatest challenge. They struggled daily to solve road crew problems and, in turn, the road crew struggled with the seeming inability for headquarters to immediately grasp and resolve them.

The communication difficulties alone proved to be an enormous challenge. In 1985 communicating globally was extremely difficult. When Rick called headquarters from the road, someone would shout, “The Tour’s on the line” and everyone would gather around the speaker phone.

As Edie explains, “Success was a day-to-day attitude. It was not achieved in a few big steps, but many small ones. Sometimes, for either team, success was simply making it through the day.”

From the Board of Directors – who devoted years to this cause – to the volunteers who arrived daily at headquarters – to those who helped out when the Tour rolled through their community, the role of volunteers in the success of the Tour cannot be underestimated.

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