by NIck Moase/The Advance

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 co-workers 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.

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