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 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.