By Jessica Jones
For the Independent
Jace Thorsteinson, named 2019 Youth Citizen of the Year, is using his voice to make a difference, even after he lost it temporarily from a traumatic brain injury four years ago.
The hard-working 18-year-old, who has just started his post-secondary education at Lakeland College in Vermilion, graduated from Stettler Secondary Campus in 2019.
He is known for being an event announcer for many local rodeos and associations.
After co-hosting a number of local rodeos, Thorsteinson was further invited to announce the Rising Stars at the Canadian Finals Rodeo.
To date, Thorsteinson has announced over 48 events.
This comes as an astonishing feat considering the youth lost his voice for 32 days following a brain injury he received on Aug. 26th, 2015, while attempting to break in a steer for a high school rodeo.
“I was on the horse and fell off and hit my head,” Thorsteinson explained.
“I was in the ICU for nine days and got moved and had to live in Calgary (to undergo care) for five months.
“I couldn’t talk for 32 days but once I got my voice back, I haven’t shut up since,” he joked.
Thorsteinson says that he hit the right side of his head, which makes the left side of his body “weak.”
“I was completely paralyzed but some of that stuff has come back,” he said. “I can’t do a lot, and my running isn’t very good, and I can’t be doing a lot of fast stuff so that’s why I chose announcing,” he said.
Thorsteinson has done a number of school presentations on brain injury and has raised over $19,000 for the Alberta Children’s Hospital through a team roping jackpot. He hasn’t stopped there.
He plans on raising funds for the Ronald McDonald House in order to give back.
When asked how he feels about being recognized as Youth Citizen of the Year, Thorsteinson says he feels “honoured” and “appreciative.
“I was surprised because I had no idea that anyone was even watching what I was doing, it’s cool,” he said.
“I feel honoured that the work I have done, and did in the past year, was noticed. It’s an awesome feeling,” Thorsteinson added.
The remarkable young man has some words of advice for other youth, which hold true to the reason he was nominated for the 2019 Youth Citizen of the Year Award.
“Get out there and help in any way you can,” he said.
“Even if you can’t do that much, just be there and ask around to see if anyone needs help, because they might have a job just for you, and do that job to the best of your abilities.”
Thorsteinson plans on staying in the Stettler-Central Alberta area as an active community member and hopes to keep announcing rodeo events for as long as he is able.