Fundraiser: Jennifer Jones was well received during her whirlwind visit to Saint John over the weekend
SAINT JOHN - Former world women's curling champion Jennifer Jones says she never realized when she first played the game the kind of impact she would one day have as a role model for others.
Now thrust in that role, the reigning and four-time Canadian champ is gladly accepting of the responsibilities that come with it.
"It's a huge honour and privilege and not something we take lightly," Jones, 36, said in an interview Saturday as she dropped by Thistle-St. Andrews Curling Club to engage one-on-one with curlers taking part in the Wellington West Charity Funspiel in support of the CBC's Harbour Lights campaign for food banks in southern New Brunswick.
"To have the opportunity to come to Saint John and talk to people - adults, kids - and get to know them better is a lot of fun for me and very rewarding," added Jones, a lawyer with Wellington West Capital, whose local branch managers - Bill Merrifield and Hilary Brock - organized the first-time fundraiser.
Jones sees her participation in events like the funspiel, which raised more than $13,000 for the Harbour Lights campaign, as a chance to give back to the community.
"Wellington West Capital is a huge supporter of community activities," she said. "That's why I'm here, because of my job. They wanted me to come out and Bill and Hilary asked, and I was here in a heartbeat."
Jones said she sometimes has to "pinch myself" to realize she has accomplished all she has.
"Growing up, you dream of winning one Canadian championship," the 2008 world champ said. "When we did that in 2005, I didn't think life could get any better. Now, we've won four total and three back-to-back. I still have to pinch myself. I can't believe it. I have achieved above and beyond what I set out to do and we just keep dreaming bigger and bigger, and go after it."
Jones said she does as many charity events as she can, but it's difficult for her to fit too many in during the busy curling season.
"This is for such a great cause, the food banks, just before Christmas," she said of the Wellington West Charity Funspiel. "I think it's just amazing. To be able to lend a hand is rewarding to me."
In addition to spending time with curlers at the various clubs involved - Riverside, Hampton, Carleton, as well as Thistle-St. Andrews, Jones attended a Friday night reception at Carleton, delivered the keynote address at Saturday's awards dinner in the Hatheway Pavilion at Lily Lake and conducted a Sunday morning junior curling clinic at Thistle-St. Andrews.
"She really was a hit," Merrifield said Sunday.
"She was a great ambassador for our firm and a great ambassador for her sport."
He said more than 200 people turned out for the awards dinner, where game-worn team shirts autographed by Jones and her teammates were among the items auctioned off.
"Jennifer gave a rousing, very personal speech . . . about not being afraid to lose, but wanting to win," he said. "It was very inspiring."
Merrifield said the success of this year's initial fundraiser ensures there will be a second funspiel next year. And best of all, Jones has "indicated her willingness" to support future events held here.
|< Prev||Next >|