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 user 2009-11-20 at 10:46:19 am Views: 77
  • #22963


    Carrying the flame for Barrie
    Olympic pride and
    excitement burns inside Bill Hamilton’s heart, and next month, that same
    flame will be flickering in the Barrie man’s hands.Hamilton has been
    chosen to be one of several local torchbearers in the Vancouver 2010
    Olympic Torch Relay through a section of Barrie on Dec. 29 when the
    famous flame arrives in the city.”The next time I hold this torch,
    there’ll be flames coming off of it,” said Hamilton, a sales
    representative with Sutton Group, holding the torch high in one hand. “I
    can’t wait for Dec. 29. I’ll be running with the torch from Essa Road
    near Sticky Fingers (Bar and Grill) to Anne Street.”

    Hamilton and
    his wife, Debbie, are avid runners, doing eight-to 10-kilometre runs at
    least twice a week. And every four years, when the Games begin, they’re
    often glued to their television. So, it’s fitting that he was chosen
    after entering the RBC Carry the Torch Contest last November.

    Hamilton said he never thought a guy like him could ever get a chance
    to be part of a pre-Olympic event.”As soon as I was aware that the
    average guy had a chance at this, I jumped on it,” he said. “When I went
    onto the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) website and saw the contest, I just
    had to get involved and I hoped I’d be selected.”My dream has come
    true, and what it means to me is uniting the different countries,
    representing my country through this act, and passing on that Olympic
    spirit,” he added, choking back his emotions. “The excitement is
    building for me, and there’s such a feeling of joy and pride for being
    chosen and helping that Olympic flame get lit.”

    Each torch bearer
    must make a pledge to create a better world for all, and Hamilton has
    taken a green approach with his.”I’ve started a recycling and collection
    program at my work with batteries, toner and ink cartridges,” he said.
    “They’ll be collected and given to a local recycling company, keeping it
    all out of the landfill.”

    Hamilton spoke and displayed the torch
    during the grand opening of the new RBC Barrie branch on Bryne Drive
    Wednesday afternoon.Steve Nixon, RBC’s regional vice-president, said
    combining the two announcements seemed fitting, and expressed his
    excitement at having another local resident chosen to bear the Olympic
    torch.”We offer congratulations to Mr. Hamilton for being selected,”
    Nixon said. “Over the coming months, even more announcements will be
    made about more chosen torch bearers across the country.”

    said he’s pleased with how well received the new branch is among
    clients.”We’ve been open two weeks, and the public response has been
    astounding,” he said. “We pride ourselves on partnerships and growth,
    and we’re happy to provide a new and much larger branch to
    customers.”Former Olympian Jeff Bean was also on-hand for the event, and
    said he shares Hamilton’s pride in being connected with the Games in
    some way.

    The Ottawa native retired from freestyle ski
    competitions after the 2006 Winter Olympics, but with the Games fast
    approaching, he’s full of anticipation.”There’s a real energy and
    excitement among Canadians that’s almost tangible now,” said Bean, who
    is promoting the Games and the torch relay for RBC. “I’m still involved
    in the Olympics, but in a different way. But, there’s still that same
    level of excitement for me as they draw near.”Bean also paid a visit to
    Bear Creek Secondary School and St. Catherine of Sienna School in
    Barrie, yesterday.