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REPORTING · 26th May 2013
Walter McFarlane
The Trail Rider project is successful. On Friday, May 24th, Pat Mouland’s Grade 2 Class thanked everyone who was involved in purchasing the Trail Rider with its unveiling in the Multipurpose Room at Nechako School. Several of the adults who were involved in its purchase were able to attend.

“We wanted to have you all here because it was really special, this whole project for us, and it couldn’t have happened without all of you in this room today. Everybody. We wanted to have a little thank you and an opportunity to see the Trail Rider in Person, maybe get a ride and come and see how we use it in our class,” said Mouland.

She gave special thanks to Mrs. Watt who first told them about the Trail Rider. The class had been going on winter hikes and found the trails were not accessible to one of her class members, Chloe Harwood. To accommodate her, they tried using a sled.

After learning about the Trail Rider, the class decided they were going to go through with this as a community project.

“We had tremendous response from our letter that went out asking for some support. We were really overwhelmed. Everyday, we would come into class and be excited wouldn’t we,” said Mouland. “One of our first sponsors actually was the Lion’s Club and they came through with $7000 and met our goal even before we had a chance to really get going on fundraising.”

She thanked all of the people who sponsored the Trail Rider and worked towards it. There were still people who wanted to contribute so the fund kept building and building until there was $16,000 saved. The first plan might have been for a second Trail Rider. However, a decision was made to open an endowment fund, so the class could purchase more adaptive sports equipment. $5000 has been targeted for the endowment fund.

The rest of the money will be kept in the school to build a philanthropy club. The class wants to do more big things sharing their time, talent and treasures with the community. $3000 is being kept in the fund. So far, money has been donated to a floating garden in Peru and students are planning projects to paint over graffiti and are researching a clean ocean’s project.

“We’ve got a lot of philanthropists coming up with a lot of ideas. This is going to continue to grow and next year, we’re going to open up the philanthropy club up to the rest of the school so that the children who raised the money will still have a voice in spending the money,” said Mouland.

She gave special thanks to all of the people who helped out but were unable to be there. It included multiple businesses around town and the High School students at Kitimat City High who not only raised $1000 for the Trail Rider with a bottle drive but were also instrumental in helping out on the early hikes.

Chloe Harwood had something to say as well, spoken from the heart. “I would like to have a big thank you for raising money,” said Harwood. “It takes me more places than my wheelchair does. It makes me feel like a queen when I’m sitting in it. Thank you all.”

The class took the contributors out on a sample hike through the playbush so they could demonstrate how they support their friend, taking turns in teams of four to keep the Trail Rider balanced while an adult steered the chair.

Among those who had a chance to ride in the Trail Rider around the Multi-Purpose Room was Mayor Joanne Monaghan.

“Thank you all for everything you’ve done. Thank you to your teachers, thank you for everyone who has just put so much effort into this and we really, really appreciate it. This is what happens in a community when we work together and we try to help each other,” said Monaghan.