The most interesting people of 2012
Part of the Star’s look back at the top stories of 2012.
1) Tyhlor Kahret: High Terrain Helicopters’ chief pilot has been flying since 1970 and has worked on Hollywood productions, mineral exploration, fighting forest fires, and more. No two days on the job are alike.
“That’s what makes my job so cool: you come in the morning and don’t know what you’re going to do all day,” Kahret says. “You have to be very adaptable to changing plans.”
2) Jim Hudec: You can find him several times a week at the Nelson Nordic Ski club, but he’s had to endure more than the average skier just to get there.
In 1985, Hudec was left paralyzed after a logging accident. With a background in skiing, snowmobiling and dirt biking, he wouldn’t let his injury keep him from staying active.
He picked up wheelchair racing right away and later began skiing with his wife after attending a sitski clinic. “We finally bought one and really loved it,” he says. “It’s a lot of fun.”
3) Joe Frechette: More than half a century after his hit song first aired, the Nelson man looks back on his time with the Beau Marks fondly.
Formed in Montreal in 1958, the group only lasted a short while, but their song Clap Your Hands hit No. 1 — unheard of for a Canadian group at the time. In 2011, it was certified as a Socan Classic, with 100,000 Canadian airplays.
“One of the biggest kicks was the first time I heard it on the radio,” said Frechette, who wrote the song in 10 minutes, never expecting it would air another 99,999 times.
4) Dr. Paul Walker: After 35 years practicing medicine in Nelson, he shows few signs of slowing down.
He was honoured this year with an award for long service by the Society of Rural Physicians of Canada, recognizing doctors who have spent 20 years in rural and remote communities.
The society doesn’t have an award for 40 years of service. But the way things are going, Walker, 65, may well make it to that milestone.
“I failed at retirement,” he says “Unless I can figure out what to do with free time, I might still be working at 70.”
5) Aedan Osika: The Nelson Atom Spitfires centre represented his minor hockey team at the summer Olympics this year. The 11-year-old was one of four players across Canada selected as goodwill ambassadors to attend the Games courtesy of McDonald’s Canada.
In addition to an all-expenses paid trip to London, he received tickets to bronze medal volleyball and a medal round of athletics competitions.
Spitfires coach Dan Bayoff says Osika is a great team player: “He always treats his teammates with upmost respect and kindness. He works hard and is a great hockey player.”
The Balfour resident is an anomaly in the male-dominated world of car collecting. Her husband introduced her to the hobby, and they worked side-by-side restoring a 1972 Dodge Dart.
“It was one of those ‘if you can’t beat them join them’ situations,” she says. “My husband always loved cars and I guess it rubbed off on me.”
7) Peter and Danica Lee: Despite training together for a year for the Penticton Ironman, the father and daughter from Nelson didn’t expect to see each other during the actual race. But as luck would have it, they met up several times and crossed the finish line hand-in-hand.
At one point, Sister Madonna Buder, the so-called Iron Nun, ran past them. “I told Danica we couldn’t let an 82-year-old beat us,” Peter laughed.
Peter, 58, raced Ironman five years ago and Danica, 23, convinced him to sign up again for her first attempt.
8) Judith Stein: At 64, she’s back in the burlesque business.
Starting as a topless go-go dancer, Stein went on to tour North America for 17 years, making her living by taking off her clothes. Later she settled in Nelson and started a home-based business sewing Victorian-style flannel nightgowns.
When burlesque started making a comeback, a new generation of dancers wanted to learn what it used to be like. In 2010, she was invited to join Victoria’s Cheesecake Burlesque Revue at the Capitol Theatre. “It took me about two seconds to say yes,” she says.