Tecumseh residents welcomed the Pan Am TO2015 torch relay June 16, around 5 p.m.
Community torch bearer, and former professional hockey player, Mark Renaud was welcomed by a sea of citizens outside Tecumseh Arena.
This is the 17th day of the 41-day trek across Canada. The torch started its journey this day in Sarnia, continuing down through Aamjiwnaang First Nations, Wallaceburg, and Chatham-Kent.
Mayor Gary McNamara thanked the town’s various contributors to the celebration, which included a wide variety of family friendly fun including bouncy castles, soccer games and a tasty grilled hot dog or two.
Renaud was honoured that he could represent Tecumseh, making the town feel included in the whole event and bringing the country together.
He was chosen as the community torch bearer for Tecumseh, but said that if his son, Mickey Renaud, was alive today that he would have been chosen.
“It is fitting I am here at the Tecumseh Arena, we spent a lot of time today, so I run today for Mickey,” said Renaud, “I am truly honoured to carry his memory.”
Mickey Renaud was a former captain of the Windsor Spitfires, and an inspiration for the rest of his team. He collapsed suddenly in his home on February 18, 2008, and was pronounced dead later that day. His name still stands as a legacy in the hockey world.
Renaud kissed the torch with Jennifer Daley-Stewart, a torch-bearer for Windsor who would continue the torch’s relay that evening.
Kids got to stand with Renaud, posing for photos with their own torches made out of balloons. Cheers were heard at the end of every speaker, and Tecumseh Mayor Gary McNamara said that it reminded him of the same sort of atmosphere when the Olympic Torch passed through.
He believes that it’s important that the Pan Am Games include towns, large and small, across Canada.
“It’s a vast country, and its population is made up of many, many small communities. By doing (events like these), it connects the dots. It connects our country, the spirit of our country,” said McNamara, “(Pan Am Games) is an opportunity for us to showcase it for the world.”