"January 18, 2010 came and went like most hectic winter days and I believe many of us were at Apex. We were running races or thinking about running races or thinking about how to get some skiing in so we could volunteer to run another race and on this day Bob McWhinnie of Kimberley passed away after a long battle with lung cancer. So why am I writing this now? Well, Bob left an impression on me that I think is worth sharing.
"Bob was recommended by Phil Bernier of ACA as a great announcer to use at the first running of the Silver Star K2 Nationals. The only rub was Bob is a professional announcer and professionals need to be paid. I knew paying for a professional announcer was not a priority but Phil’s recommendation was a strong one so I called Bob. I was upfront with Bob and told him money was tight and he was upfront with me and asked what can you afford? We settled on a number and a month or so later Bob and I met in person as the event kicked off. That meeting was really significant. He knew there was a lot going on with the event and that I may be a little frazzled so he simply said "don’t worry about me I’m totally self-contained." Those words and how they were delivered with that enigmatic voice and engaging smile were completely trusting. Bob spent the next 5 days delivering perfect racing commentary, atmosphere and awards announcing and I never worried about him. He was a real professional with the heart of a volunteer! He kept it light and always had a joke even when Mother Nature and the Race Organizing Committee gave him every reason not to. He wasn’t imposing though none of us would’ve minded if he was. He wasn’t demanding. He was always exactly where he had to be when he had to be there.
"In short we had a lot of fun with Bob and we were looking forward to his return for the second running of the K2 Nationals, but he became ill and couldn’t do it. Bob told me that he felt really bad letting me down and it hit me just how much this man loves to work with people to help kids have a special experience. Bob McWhinnie’s lasting impression on me is of a special human being of a rare variety that we need more of in our lives. Thanks Bob!"
~ submitted by Garry van Soest, Past President of the Vernon Ski Club
Here is an article from a Cranbook journalist who will miss Bob too: