Locals prepare to carry Olympic torch
AMHERST - Jamie Steele was shocked when she first found out she was chosen to carry the Olympic torch.
The 15-year-old Amherst resident will carry the torch in Shediac, N.B., on Nov. 23.
"It was my brother Brandon's idea to enter my name because he was too young to enter himself," Steele said before getting on the ice at the Amherst Stadium to coach CanPower skaters.
"He entered my name because he hoped someone in our family would get the chance to carry the torch."
It wasn't until after Brandon entered his sister's name that Jamie found out.
"I never really thought about entering my own name, but I'm happy that he did," she said.
Steele is among 12,000 people carrying the torch throughout Canada in a span of 106 days. She will carry the torch for 300 metres.
"When I first found out, I was shocked and couldn't believe it. At first, I couldn't really tell anyone because they had to make it official, but I was happy when they did.
"I'm happy I'll be a part of history and have this once in a lifetime chance."
Katie Hammill of the RBC Torch Relay said Steele is only one of two from this area through the banking branch to have been chosen to carry the flame.
In an e-mail interview, Hammill said Steele pledged to support water protection programs in her community.
"I will protect clean water by cleaning up some of our rivers and lakes for litter. I will also help by taking five-minute showers instead of 10," Steele's pledge read.
Lisa Baldwin from Collingwood has also been chosen by RBC to carry the flame.
Baldwin will carry the torch in Prince Edward Island on Saturday, the same day it's scheduled to visit Amherst.
Hammill included Baldwin's pledge in her e-mail as well.
It read:?"Encourage my friends and family to live an active lifestyle. This will create a better Canada as it will result in citizens that are more physically and mentally positive, reduce health care costs, increase work levels and general life satisfaction in being blessed to live in such a wonderful country."
Coca-Cola has also chosen a number of torchbearers across Canada, two of which are from Amherst.
Daren White, the physical education teacher at Spring Street Academy in Amherst, will carry the flame Wednesday in Enfield.
Gina Stevens, a mother of three all under the age of eight, is carrying the torch in Port Hawkesbury today.