When Brooke Bobb-Reid’s official Olympic torchbearer outfit arrived in the mail, she knew exactly what to do with it.
“I opened it up, took it out of the box, and tried it on right away,” she says. But she won’t be able to flaunt it for the rest of the world until February 7, when the Olympic torch makes its way through Seabird Island.
Then, she’ll join fellow torchbearer Chanea Gabriel in carrying the flame through their quiet community.
But Seabird will be anything but quiet that day. Organizers fully expect a packed house for the celebrations planned, beginning at 9 a.m. in the gymnasium.
Bobb-Reid and Gabriel are the only two torchbearers for their community, but Richard M. Louie, a Seabird elder, has been invited to bless the flame during the morning ceremony.
Louie has been involved in the community for nearly 40 years, through council and the band office.
He has been working on creating a prayer for the special event.
“I think the flame should represent unity, working together, peace and happiness,” he says. And his prayer will reflect those feelings.
While the Olympic flame represents different things to different people, Bobb-Reid says “it’s an honour to be able to represent Seabird, especially as a youth.”
The events at Seabird Island begin at 8:30 a.m. February 7, with the torch ceremony around 9 a.m. inside the gymnasium.
Organizers say the event is open to everyone, and they are prepared for a huge turnout, including a large group expected from Chehalis.
Stephanie Lasuik, communications for Seabird, says they’ve been ramping up excitement at the school as the Olympics get closer, with a celebration at the school already.
Both Bobb-Reid and Gabriel were nominated by the community to be torchbearers. Both excel at their chosen passions.
Bobb-Reid, 16, is an A-honours student who has competed in canoe pulling with the Indigenous Games. Gabriel, 18, is heavily involved in school activities and is a pow wow dancer, often helping out younger children and teaching them how to dance.