The 2017 North Bay Relay For Life was my second opportunity to participate as a volunteer. With months of preparations and assistance of all available personnel, tents were raised, trenches dug, conductors run and supported. Then, with Corporal Jeremy Scott’s expertise, temporary electrical panels were installed, terminations made, outlets installed and all systems were tested.
After the opening ceremony, an opportunity came to take a breath and take in the many sights and sounds of friends and family meeting to share their experiences with their battle against cancer. Many touching moments could be observed as strangers laughed or shed tears sharing similar stories.
As evening approached, volunteers took their places for the Luminary Ceremony. All lights except those from the candles circling the running track were extinguished simultaneously. I gave the order over the radio, “3…2…1…now,” all lights went out and an eerie yet powerful silence was observed from my vantage in the platform lift 50’ high. A lone piper began playing, “Amazing Grace,” over the darkened field where hundreds of teary eyed survivors and their families walked below me without a word spoken. A montage of pictures of loved ones who succumbed to their battle played on the big video screen until the ceremony’s end.
The thing I took from my experience was that this event is important not just to remember the ones who went ahead of us, but to remember that there are others like us left behind.
Article by: Master Corporal Dan Hill, then, with 22 Wing Construction Engineering