By THOMAS RANSON
Nevada Appeal News Service
With the Summer Oylmpic Games underway, Fallon's Aarik Wilson is a mere nine days away from making the biggest jumps of his life.
But as of two weeks ago, he was going to be without his coach until fundraising helped purchase Wayne Pate's plane ticket. This week, however, supporters were able to raise the rest of the costs to cover lodging and food.
"Lodging is paid for and the meals," Kirsten Wilson, Aarik's mother, said. "He's all handled. Aarik bought his plane ticket and we reimbursed him."
Through selling "Go For the Gold Aarik Wilson" T-shirts and multiple donations, Kirsten Wilson said the tally increased from $1,500 to $4,100 in less than two weeks. She also said that she plans on visiting businesses and casinos in Reno and using those raised funds to create a scholarship in her son's name.
The shirts have been selling each for $25, and two or more are $20 each. They can be bought at Shear It Tis, a hair salon operated by Aarik Wilson's sister, Tia. The salon is located at 65 S. Maine St. in Fallon.
Donations can also be made at First Independent Bank in Fallon. Checks can be made to Wilson's fund at 1020 W. Fifth St., Fallon, NV 89406, or at the bank.
Wilson jumps on Aug. 18 and the top jumpers advance to the finals on Aug. 21. His mother and their family, which includes his sister and grandparents Grant and Nisha Kremers of Carson City, will be leaving on Aug. 15 and returning Aug. 26. Kirsten Wilson said that Tony Guillen and his son Ethan, and Ethan's friend Luke Habberstad are also in China for the Olympics.
Wilson said that the City of Fallon gave her family 300 trading pins to give to the competitors when they reach China. She also added that they are trying to organize a celebration for her son when they come back at the end of the month.
"I'm hoping so. Aarik will be here to thank everyone," she said. "The neatest idea I heard was to close Maine Street and make it an "Aarik Wilson" night. We could have a powerpoint show ... and Aarik there signing autographs, that kind of thing."
The feeling Aarik in the Olympics competing for the gold, though, still hasn't sunk in for the Wilson family. Kirsten Wilson said that Aarik participated in the Opening Ceremonies on Friday.
"I talk to people and tell them I'm going to be in China. I can't imagine," she said. "Even talking to him today (Thursday) he could have been in Kansas. The phone call was perfect but I know he's in China. It's amazing because of the trickle up and down effect; it's everywhere. We've got people in England and Ireland cheering us on. It's global now."