Heroes: The Story Behind Mark Ideson Day

04 Apr


Mark Ideson curling in Sochi

Mark Ideson curling in Sochi

The term hero is thrown around, used regularly and has become tired.

What is a hero, who defines it, and what does it mean to you?

The fact is hero means something different to everyone. 

Mark & Team Saulnier

Mark & Team Saulnier

In my world the term hero can be switched with the word inspiration and the sentence will still make sense.  My heroes start from my inner most circles and resonate outwards.

Mom.  The quintessential mother bear who gave up so very much of herself to raise and provide for three boys in the frozen tundra of Ontario’s north.  

Brother.  Jamie is tenacity personified.  In the face of dilemmas, drama and adversity, he soldiers on with an unrelenting quest to provide for his whole family and maybe just change the world for the better. 

Mark & Family

Mark & Family

Sounds a bit like mum, no?

Wife.  Nik is the hardest working, smartest and most compassionate person that I have met.  She takes on life, business and family with a vigor that raises the bar for all around her.

These are the people that inspire and drive my inner circle.

Then there are those that you meet that stay in your orbit for whatever reason.  My friends Scott and Kliff with their practical views and ready ears, my friends Andrew and Coop, who will pass on hard earned business and life knowledge without a thought of anything in return.  My friend Hayley who showed me how much work it really takes to compete on the world’s stage and how to do it with dignity.

And then there are those that are not in your sphere of influence who touch you so profoundly that you redefine what hero means to you.

Mark Ideson was a local helicopter jockey who became a friend and a constant radio buddy.  Apparently float pilots and gyro drivers can get along.  For those of you who don’t know Mark picture muscles, ridiculously handsome, beautiful family, always smiling and humble by nature.  Yep, some just have it all.  One day an accident wrecked the helicopter and his body.  Some may wallow in self-pity at this point and have every right to do so.  Some deal with it and move on.  Some rise to the challenge and fight with everything they have.   Mark fought.  That winter storm took away the use of his hands and legs, but it could not take away his spark.  He healed as best he could and immediately looked for competition.  Mark dedicated himself with conviction to making Canada’s para-curling team.  Apparently Mark can curl much better sitting than he ever could standing as he often ended up on his butt anyways!  Last night he brought Olympic gold back to our community. 

Mark Shares Gold

Mark Shares Gold

The whole village turned out to share in this very special moment in what is now known as Mark Ideson Day.  The smile was there.  The spark was there.  He is already prepping for the next winter games scheduled to take place in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

You see, heroes are people who rise to the challenge, whatever it may be.

That helicopter may have crushed Mark’s spine, but his spark is alive and bright for all of us to bask in and wonder what we can do with tomorrow.


Keith Saulnier

One Response to “Heroes: The Story Behind Mark Ideson Day”

  1. Tim Lindell April 4, 2014 at 3:52 pm #

    What an inspiring story Keith. Well done.

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