Most people can say they have affectionate recollections of their childhood and their parents, and I am one of those people. One of those memories that I am so proud of is my Dad’s desire and force for human service work. His fondness for the ‘helping profession’ guided me towards the equivalent line of work. I craved what he had.
Dad was an employee at the Nova Scotia Youth Training Centre, and he was very passionate and dedicated to the children he supported. He spoke of the ‘kids’ often, advocated for them, and always stood up when he felt the need. John Charles McIntyre believed in his obligation to the youth, was straightforward, honest, and real. His intensity for doing good, completing ‘God’s Work,’ and for standing-up was unmistakable in his walk-a-thon from Truro to Cape Breton and back.
I remember the last day of the walk when he returned to Truro proudly. My Dad was a superhero to me on that day in 1979 when he returned to Truro. The town had a parade to welcome him and his comrade walker, Harold Perro, which included bagpipes leading and a crowd along the street.
I distinctly will remember and cherish this memory of the public waiting and clapping when Dad and Harold arrived in Truro. They walked to the Town Hall. I was so proud of him, even though I did not fully understand the purpose – the town loved him for it! We were special that day.
Our family went into the town hall, where town representatives shook Dad’s hand and encouraged the walkers to sit at the front with the mayor. I remember my youngest brother running around and finally made his way to my Dad’s lap upfront. Oh, what a picture.
As my Dad fades away from this bloody cancer, I encourage the town of Truro to remember my Dad’s human service contributions. From his service to the children and youth at the Nova Scotia Youth Training Centre for 30 years to his Walk-a-thon to bring awareness for the Canadian Paraplegic Association and the Nova Scotia Heart Foundation and for Dad’s most beloved work of almost forty years as a member of an anonymous program. He gave of himself wholeheartedly to each member who crossed his path. That character is a rare find.
I encourage anyone who knows Dad, John C. McIntyre, as a way to recognize his service to share a few words under this post. We will read the comments to him.