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CAMERON: Farewell to Pictou County


Like so many before me, I’m headed west.

I’m not heading west to Alberta though; I’m just headed to Ontario to pursue a new career. That’s far enough.

With that, this is obviously news to many that I will no longer be working for The News. This week was my final full week of work.

When I moved here two and a half years ago I was dreading it. I’m a city boy at heart, so this move was a difficult one. Honestly, if you asked me then if I would be sad to move back to a city I would’ve said no.

I’ve got to say now that isn’t the case. This has been a tough time knowing that I’ll be leaving this community. It isn’t the place I lived or the Merb that I’ll miss most, although the beaches around here are amazing, but the people.

For the record: I planned on going with a cheeky final column, but this quickly turned into sentimental one.

Pictou County is a place with a big heart. I remember covering the 2012 Summer Street Scramble, my first one, and when I heard the fundraising total ($234,593) I thought they had something wrong. Well guess what, they didn’t. It blew me away how a small community can raise that kind of money. Since then it has happened over and over again. This community fights for each other and rallies around causes like no other.

In my time here I have had the opportunity to tell a number of special stories, but two stand out in particular.

My conversation with Irene Crowther was extremely special. She’s the mother of Bradley Crowther, a young man who passed away in the summer of 2012, and was being honoured at the Westville Miners Christmas Tournament.

Speaking with her about her son’s passion for the Westville Miners and all things hockey was something I’ll never forget, especially when she joked about how he seemed to spend more time in the penalty box than on the ice because he liked the physical contact part of the game.

I’ll also never forget sitting down with Jonessa MacNeil and her parents Cathy and Paul MacDonald prior to the 2013 Johnny Miles Running Event. She is a true inspiration in this community.

After a routine surgery went wrong in 2000, MacNeil’s heart stopped for 12 minutes. She was brought back, but not without damage to her brain and sight. With holes in her sight now, MacNeil struggles to see things in her peripherals that most people take for granted. Learning how she stood for the first time after that surgery and eventually a number of years later went on to walk the 5k walk at the Johnny Miles event in 2012 was an unbelievable story. It’s something that has been truly inspirational.

While here I also took a leap into Big Brothers Big Sisters. It’s an outstanding program and I would encourage anyone considering volunteering to do so, especially male volunteers as they are always looking for males to get involved.

My little (who isn’t so little) and his grandparents, not to mention myself, were a little fearful about whether the match would work. Now, as I prepare to move, they are three of the more important people in my life in general. They’ve taken me in as if I was family and that has meant the world to me.

I joined BBBS to “impact” someone’s life, but in turn I think they did just as much for me as I did for them. As I said, they’ve become family and I’m glad I got over my fear of signing up for the program because I couldn’t imagine how these past few years would’ve gone without them.

If you got to know me it’s also no secret curling is a big deal to me. The Bluenose Curling Club was welcoming and that was yet another place that I will miss dearly, specifically my teammates “uncle” Gord, Brendan and Darrell.

Let’s not forget the weekly Weeks Crushers beat, Weeks Midgets, Junior B Scotians or Scotsburn Major Bantam Crushers hockey stories. It was one of my favourite aspects of the job, but also enjoyed getting to learn and appreciate the game of rugby.

I know there were lots of high school teams, minor hockey tournaments and numerous other features that I had the opportunity to cover, too many to list, but I’m thankful each person allowed me to tell their story.

Finally to the staff at The News, our editorial staff became a tight knit family, which is only natural in a small workplace. It will be tough not turning around to tell John, Al or Amanda a story, or yelling across the office at Adam or Sueann about something, but I’m sure advertising will have a quieter and more peaceful workday.

This staff works extremely hard and in the coming weeks will have to work harder until they bring in someone to take over this sports beat. Cut them a little slack in that time, but once you get the new guy or girl let them have it. You know what stories need to be told, so make sure they’re on top of it.

For all things sports now, email sports@ngnews.ca. That is always the constant in the sports department no matter who is in this position.

Again, it was great meeting everyone whom I interacted with over that time. If you would like to touch base in the future my personal email is mooseheadsfan@hotmail.com.

Thank you Pictou County. It’s been a slice.

 

Christopher Cameron is the sports reporter for The News and can be reached at christopher.cameron@ngnews.ca or on Twitter @NGNewsChris. His column ran weekly on Wednesdays.

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