Dashwood firefighter carries a flame for Olympic spirit

Darlene O’Rourke taking part in torch relay

Story and photo by Casey Lessard

This is one flame Dashwood firefighter Darlene O’Rourke won’t want to put out. O’Rourke is on her way to Summerside, PEI this week to take part in the 2010 Winter Olympic torch relay. She will run the torch November 22 at approximately 5:56 p.m.
O’Rourke won the chance to be part of the run after submitting an entry each day through the Vancouver 2010 website sponsored by Coca-Cola and RBC. She was asked to submit a choice of three cities, and her choices were London, Vancouver and Summerside. She passed into the second round and was asked to submit a 200 word essay about how she lives an active lifestyle and inspires others to do the same. July 30, she was notified that she was being considered, as long as she passed legal muster, and was notified October 2 that she would be carrying the torch.
“Being a part of the torch relay is very important to me,” O’Rourke says. “I have competed in world championships for tug-of-war and won a bronze medal and know how proud it makes you feel to represent your country in such an event. Words can not describe how great this opportunity is to be a part of the Olympics in your country.”
It’s taken more than a ballot to make this happen. O’Rourke has to cover the cost of travel and accommodations in Summerside, and has received support from friends, family and neighbours. She gets to keep her torch bearer uniform, and thanks to a $350 contribution from her work, Hayter’s Turkey Products, she will also get to bring home the torch she will be carrying.
To follow her progress, you can visit iCoke.ca, CTV.ca, or her blog, which she will start posting Friday:

Locally, the torch comes through the London-Strathroy area December 27.