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Bert Bowes dedicates Wall of Fame

Three nationally renowned athletes from Fort St. John are being honoured by their former middle school.
Bo Hedges with filmmaker Christine Sutherland and city councillor Tony Zabinsky during a Wall of Fame dedication at Bert Bowes Middle School on Feb. 7

Three nationally renowned athletes from Fort St. John are being honoured by their former middle school.

A new Wall of Fame outside the gymnasium at Bert Bowes school was dedicated this week, highlighting the careers of Paralympic basketball player Bo Hedges, downhill ice cross skater Adam Horst, and Team Canada national volleyball alum Dana Cranston.

“This cabinet is going to be here forever, plus it’s going to have new names in it,” said Christine Sutherland, who has been working on a documentary about Hedge's life story and journey to the Paralympics.

Hedges was in town this week helping out at the family ranch in Wonowon before returning to Toronto, where he will continue training with his national teammates ahead of the World Championships in Dubai this June.

“It’s very cool to be here where we first started practicing in the evenings with family and friends and brothers and sisters, and other people in the community who had a disability,” said Hedges following the dedication.

Hedges mainly played hockey growing up as a farm kid but broke his back when he was just 13 years old, falling from a tree at his grandparents' old farm in southern Ontario while on summer vacation.

He was later introduced to wheelchair basketball during his rehabilitation, and Hedges says the school was instrumental in putting him on the life path he’s on now.

“It’s a great community and the school itself was amazing in terms of supporting me especially right after my accident,” he said. “They embraced me and they supported me and they gave me all these opportunities that have laid the foundation for this path I went on afterwards.”

During the Wall of Fame dedication, Hedges spoke to a group of Bert Bowes basketball players and emphasized the importance of seizing opportunities especially in the face of a setback in life.

“I don’t dwell too much on what could have been but I definitely look at what was presented to me,” he said in an interview afterwards.

“It was a great opportunity in the sense of the path it led me on… I alluded to that earlier when I was talking to the kids, that there’s opportunities out there no matter what happens and you just got to seize them and challenge yourself, and who knows where it will end up taking you.”

“For me, this is where the path led,” he said.

The Wall of Fame also includes Adam Horst, a local firefighter and Red Bull Crashed Ice champion, a type of extreme winter sport event where competitors race over bumps and around curves to cross the finish line on hockey skates.

And the Wall includes Dana Cranston, a former Bert Bowes and NPSS graduate who joined Canada's senior national volleyball team in 2013, where she spent five years with the program. A former outside hitter and AVCA All-American for Colorado State, where she graduated university, she is now an associate head coach for the University of Montana Grizzlies volleyball program.

"Coming from our community... if you put your mind to it, you can do it," said Coun. Tony Zabinsky who was on hand for the dedication.

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