Perry cho­sen as Olympic vol­un­teer

The Queens County Advance - - NEWS - By Nick Moase

Look closely in the crowds dur­ing the open­ing cer­e­monies at the 2010 Win­ter Olympics. You may just spot the hap­pi­est per­son from Queens Co.

Rhonda Perry is off to the Olympics, as one of 25,000 vol­un­teer staff for the games.

Perry ap­plied in March 2008 but didn’t find out if she was in the run­ning un­til March of 2009, when she was in­vited to vol­un­teer train­ing.

The an­tic­i­pa­tion was hard dur­ing the year long wait, but when the news fi­nally came she was ec­static.

“I was so ex­cited. It was over­whelm­ing at first. I was looking for­ward to this since they an­nounced Canada was get­ting the 2010 Olympics. I knew I was go­ing to the Olympics,” she says.

She thinks she is the only vol­un­teer ac­cepted from the South Shore as well.

Perry is work­ing as a Ra­dio Dis­tri­bu­tion Prime out of BC Place, as part of the tech­nol­ogy group. She’ll be in charge of dis­tribut­ing ra­dios to staff at the venue.

“ When I was in­ter­viewed, they asked me what po­si­tion I would be in­ter­ested in. I wanted to do some­thing that wouldn’t be as stress­ful as a reg­u­lar job,” she says. She took this po­si­tion to still be in the mid­dle of it, but be able to see a bit of the games as well.

When she first ap­plied, the only peo­ple she told were her fam­ily and em­ploy­ers at Brook­lyn Power. Af­ter all, she says, she was only one of 64,000 that ap­plied to vol­un­teer. That’s why she waited un­til she made it through be­fore let­ting oth­ers know.

She also thanks her em­ploy­ers and co­work­ers for their sup­port, adding they’ve sup­ported her go­ing ever since she first ap­plied.

“They’ve been one of my strong­est sup­port­ers.”

Perry is an avid sports fan, es­pe­cially the curl­ing events. For the past few pro­vin­cial tour­na­ments, she’s vol­un­teered at the Liver­pool Curl­ing Club and ab­so­lutely loves the sport and Olympic medal­ist Colleen Jones.

“I think there’s noth­ing bet­ter than what she did for Nova Sco­tia.”

The Olympics are al­most all staffed by vol­un­teers, from snow shov­el­ing to the doc­tors and phys­io­ther­a­pists. All vol­un­teers for the Olympics have to pay their own way as well.

“It’s a lit­tle ex­pen­sive to do this, but you’re on the in­side. You’re more than just a spec­ta­tor of the games.” She adds it will be worth it.

Be­ing a vol­un­teer at the Olympics re­quires a lot of train­ing from on­line train­ing mod­ules to what she de­scribes as a very thick train­ing man­ual. Even then, Perry has to go out to Van­cou­ver in the fall for some face-to-face train­ing.

Be­fore she can think too much more about the Olympics how­ever, she has to fo­cus on Queens County SeaFest. Perry has vol­un­teered with SeaFest for the past four years, so the next week will be a busy time for her and the other vol­un­teers.

The Van­cou­ver Win­ter Olympics are tak­ing place Feb. 12-28, 2010.

Rhonda Perry

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