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"History cannot give us a program for the future, but it can give us a fuller understanding of ourselves, and of our common humanity, so that we can better face the future." Robert Penn Warren

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In the footsteps of the North West Company...

The 2008 David Thompson Brigade - The Organizing Committee

The individuals who made up the organizing committee were a varied group from different backgrounds and professional disciplines. There was a core group who initiated the planning and formation of the not for profit society and as planning took hold and the date for departure loomed ever closer, others became involved. The committee below is identified in the order in which this crazy idea was presented.

President and Chairman: Andreas N. Korsos

You can read more about me in the About Me section of this website.

Community Coordinator & Edu-Kit Chair: S. Leanne Playter

Leanne was a Founding Member of the 2008 David Thompson Brigade Society and as Community Coordinator, Leanne worked with the host communities in their efforts to support the Brigade in everything from a place to pitch the tents, to meals, to local celebrations and events. Leanne also was the chair of the Edu-Kit sub-committee that designed and developed the education packages that were given to each of the committees we visited. Leanne also designed the various posters for the event and wrote the Host Community Package. Leanne draws her inspiration from her background in the theatre world and from her professional experiences as an event coordinator and technical writer.

Marketing: Don Galloway

Growing up on a farm which bordered the North Saskatchewan has made the river an integral part of Don's life. Fate brought Don to the David Thompson Brigade with a resume full of motorized adventures and a love of history, maps, travel and country. Don believes that every trip has a beginning and an end but the most memorable parts are all about what happens in the middle that you didn't plan for! Don was a founding Member of the 2008 David Thompson Brigade Society. Don's support and enthusiasm from the start, before there was a committee and afterwards, through all means, ensured that this event would take place. Without Don, I doubt there would have been a brigade...

Vice President and Water Captain: Ted Bentley

Ted has been a paddler of canoes and kayaks for most of his life. His experiences in both crafts include racing white water, marathon and north canoes. Ted has been an active member of paddling clubs and organizations for most of his life and has helped organize numerous events, including the Canadian National Whitewater Championships and currently the 2008 David Thompson Brigade. Besides being the Vice President of the 2008 Brigade, Ted is also the team captain of one of the participating canoes, and was one of the founding members of the 2008 David Thompson Brigade Society.

Pre Scout / Route and Safety Chair: Mark Lund

Mark Lund is a native Albertan who participated in his first canoe trip at age 15, entered his first canoe race in 1969 and has not looked back since. Marks experience includes 10 years coaching Marathon Canoeing in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference and has instructed in Outdoor and Physical Education for 30 years at the University of Alberta, and (presently) Grant MacEwan College in Edmonton, Alberta. Mark is a Past or Present Executive member of: Red Deer Canoe & Kayak Club, Alberta Whitewater Association, Paddle Alberta, Ceyana Canoe Club, Paddle Canada, and the Edmonton Paddling Centres Association. Mark Lund was a founding member of the 2008 David Thompson Brigade Society. Mark and John Reid spent the summer of 2007 pre-scouting the route that the brigade took the following year.

Pre-Scout / Advance Party: John Reid

John was an active participant in the majority of committee meetings and spent the better part of the summer of 2007 pre-scouting the route that the brigade would take the following year. John Reid cut his teeth paddling on Cold Lake at the age of 4 and has spent most of his life as a special ed. teacher at L.Y. Cairns High School in Edmonton, Alberta. His other responsibilities included running the school's outdoor education program. John has had a lifelong love affair with wooden boats of all kinds and his first retirement project was attending a winter long boat building school on Gabriola Island. John was a founding member of the 2008 David Thompson Brigade Society.

Director at Large: Dave Mclure

Dave has been involved in most sports that involved using a paddle; 2 man marathon canoe racing, white-water slalom, downriver kayak racing, and sea kayaking while living in Tasmania. Dave also paddled for 13 years in the Quebec Winter Carnival ice boat race. Dave managed to get in the 1967 Centennial Canoe Pageant from Rocky Mountain House to Montreal (on the Alberta team) and would participate in four other multi-day voyageur canoe races in British Columbia, Alberta and the North West Territories. Dave Mclure was a founding member of the 2008 David Thompson Brigade Society.

Treasurer: Jim Sand

Jim grew up in Jasper, Alberta and from a young age loved the outdoors learning to canoe on the upper reaches of the Athabasca river. In the last few years he has taken a few trips in North canoes and the mix of canoeing and the historical aspects of north canoeing got him involved with the 2008 David Thompson Brigade Society.

Media: Mary Fitl

In over 40 years, Mary has paddled an old door on a slough in Saskatchewan, surf boards, boogie boards, outrigger canoes, dragon boats, a sourdough river raft and a variety of canoes and kayaks. If you can paddle it, just try to keep her away! Combine that obsession with a keen interest in Canadian history and a mysterious attraction to wilderness camping... for Mary, participating in the David Thompson Brigade 2008 was the only logical thing to do … This is a once in a lifetime opportunity that cannot be missed. The sounds of the river and the unique connection you can only experience in a wilderness camp are like therapy for adrift adventurers and Caesars, weary of our concrete confines!

Merchandise: Gail Drouin

Gail Drouin grew up in north-eastern Alberta where she spent summers enjoying the water and the outdoors. Her few experiences with paddling include kayaking/canoeing the Johnson's Strait and miscellaneous family excursions on the North Saskatchewan. In the summer of 2007 she joined the last leg of the Columbia River 2007 Brigade and was inspired to be part of the 2008 venture.

Merchandise: Louise Johnston

Besides helping organize the merchandise, Louise faithfully manned the merchandise tent through out the entire 63 days of the brigade.

Advance Party: Bob Belsey

Bob Belsey was part of our advance party and all around handy man. Through his daughter Bonnie, a participant, Bob joined our committee just days before we departed and made an impact on everyone from the very beginning. Not only did he go above and beyond with is daily tasks; his warmth and kindest to others did not go un-noticed by those who knew him on the brigade. Sadly, we lost Bob in August 2009, just over a year since the end of the brigade. He will be missed by all who had the fortune to meet and spend time with him.

Advance Party: Monroe Kinloch

An Alberta Land Surveyor, Munroe approached me a year prior to the brigade leaving about forming a team of Surveyors. Not long afterward, I invited Munroe to accompany me to a conference in Calgary about David Thompson and was soon hooked. Munroe would go on to captain a Surveyors team and after the team had fished it's run, became part of the advance party for the brigade.

Registrar: Brooke Martens

Brooke has been paddling for about 10 years. Tripping is her favorite pastime, and she has been on the water in four countries, three Canadian provinces, two types of boats and learned if you eat well, you always have a good time. Brooke was a founding Member of the 2008 David Thompson Brigade Society.

Edu-Kit Committee: Lois Lund

With a background in education and music, Lois prepared music sheets for the participants to the historic voyageur songs that were sung on many occasion by the participants. Lois also served on the Edu-Kit Sub-Committee, and visited schools as part our commitment to communities.

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