On Feb. 16, I and the Ross River Bridge Society were honoured with receiving the 2014 Annual Heritage Award from Yukon Historical and Museums Association.
Although the beautifully framed award names Kitty Sperling and the Ross River Bridge Society with successfully saving the Ross River Footbridge from demolition, the award really belongs to everyone who participated in the events over the past year.
I am truly humbled by the words of Marc Johnston, who nominated me and the society for this award – he definitely captured the significance of saving this structure for its heritage, tourism, cultural, and practical reasons.
At the event, I was grateful and honoured to stand with Chief Brian Ladue and Councillor Yvonne Moon to receive the award, for the influences of the Ross River Dena Council and the Ross River Dena people are of profound significance – without their guidance, clarity, and conviction, the trucks would surely have traversed the initial ice road to bring down the bridge. Thank you.
At present, the bridge is being stabilized with an elegant industrial design that befits the structure of the original Canol pipeline. The next stage will see the bridge decking upgraded and the stairs constructed. After 70 years, we are once again seeing history in the making!
As mentioned, this 2014 Heritage Award really belongs to everyone, even those whose opinions express indifference or opposition, for it is important for all people to speak up about issues that affect their hearts, and it is imperative we examine what is of value in our lives and society. Although seemingly trite, one person can truly make a difference.
A special thank you to the Yukon Historical and Museums Association and Heritage Canada for the recognition and support. Thank you to all the people who speak up, and who frequent, comment, contribute, and like the Friends Of The Ross River Foot Bridge Facebook page.
Thank you to the elders of Ross River, whose stories connect the past to now, and to all Ross River Dena People, whose hearts connect the community. Thank you to the CBC and local newspapers for helping with the local and national coverage. Thank you to the NDP, whose unwavering support throughout helped tremendously.
And thank you to the Yukon government, for recognizing the importance of this structure, and for listening to the hearts of Yukoners, Canadians, and beyond.