Kimberley students got to sit down with a local gold medal Paralympian to discuss safety on the job.
Josh Dueck was paralyzed from the waist down after suffering a serious injury training students for the 2004 Canadian Junior Nationals.
At 23 years old, Dueck overshot a landing hill while working as a ski instructor, breaking his back and severing his spine.
Despite his injuries, Dueck was still able to pursue his dreams of competitive skiing on an international stage, winning a gold medal and two silvers at the Paralympics.
“It is surreal to be invited to come back to my hometown and be able to share stories,” Dueck says. “I’m just doing my best right now. I’m just hoping that some of the things that I get to share in my stories have some value, some merit for the kids.”
Dueck is hoping students can learn what not to do at the workplace based on his experiences.
He says young workers have the right to refuse work they feel is dangerous and adds there`s nothing wrong with admitting you don`t know how to do a dangerous aspect of your job.
“When I was a younger kid, I wanted to prove myself everyday. I wanted to show that I knew how to do things even if I didn’t and that’s maybe what got me into trouble.” Dueck says. “Just know that you can speak up, ask questions and that its a sign of character and a sign of strength to be vulnerable and say ‘Hey, I don’t understand.'”
The visit was part of a WorkSafeBC tour through East Kootenay schools, focusing on making the right choices on the job to keep yourself safe.
The Paralympian also made stops in Sparwood, Fernie, Elkford and Cranbrook as part of the tour.