Pan Am Torch Run A Memorable Day For Aaron Jubenville
For Aaron Jubenville, being named a Pan-Am Games torch bearer and carrying the flame for Chatham-Kent on Tuesday was an experience he will never forget.
“Best day of my life,” remarked the 25-year-old Tilbury man, fighting back tears while digesting a whirlwind of emotion shortly after handing off the flame.
Jubenville, a celebrated local supporter in Tilbury, is confined to a wheelchair and is the kind of human being we can all learn from. As Aaron was visibly inspired by the support of his community while taking part in the torch run, he was in return inspiring his entire community once again.
“He’s the foundation of the community” said Marc Mailloux, a fellow Tilbury resident in attendance to cheer Jubenville on during his big day. “He spends every day working with kids in the community, at the arena, at the soccer field and everyone of them loves Aaron. There isn’t a day that goes by where he isn’t helping wherever he can”
Fellow torchbearers couldn’t help but be moved by Jubenville’s emotion and perseverance, as Aaron paid tribute to his best friend Joel Marchand while handing the torch off to Andrew Galloway.
“This is a pretty remarkable experience on its own, with all of this community support” said Galloway. “Then to be able to share this moment with someone like Aaron; as passionate as he is, with his speech for his best friend; how can you not be inspired?”
Jubenville dedicated his torch run experience, which means even more to him due to the inclusion of the Parapan Games, to the memory of Marchand, who passed away in 2005.
“We were best friends since day one,” Aaron said, with tears in his eyes, taking a solid minute to shake the emotions. “He was in the hospital pretty much every day and never really got to experience life. His life was spent in the hospital. When he passed away, my whole world was gone. For me to honour Joel today… it was very special and I know he’s looking down.”
Despite being confined to a wheel chair, Aaron embodies the spirit of what the Pan-Am Games, the Olympic Games and the human spirit strive to be. A completely selfless individual who wears his heart on his sleeve, Jubenville is more concerned with helping others and spending time with his family, who were evidently very important to Aaron on the day of the torch run.
After the experience, asked what the day meant to him, Aaron quickly responded that it means everything. “To know I have my community’s support and to share this day with my family and friends… it really hits home” he said. “It can’t be put into words.”
Aaron Jubenville. Pan-Am Games torch bearer. Community supporter. Inspiration. And a bonafide hometown hero.