People - July 2020

Meet Cory - Karma is His Guide

I am sure that if you ask Cory what one of his favourite moments of his day is he would quickly answer working at the Truro Homeless Shelter - Hub House. Working at the Hub House is a true passion for Cory as he feels he connects with the guests on many levels since he has also experienced some difficult challenges in his life. “I just recently got a position in the Shelter as the Volunteer Recruiter. I can help a whole lot more people, and I am grateful to be a part of such an amazing team of staff and community volunteers,” he beamed.

Cory was born and raised in Truro and experienced a colourful childhood. “I used to run around the streets of Truro as a kid with my friends. We would often spend time drinking and being a nuisance. I kept drinking until I woke up one day at almost 30 years old, and finally realized that I had a problem and needed to make a big change,” he shared. Cory received help from the Wayside House in Hamilton where he learned how to sustain a purposeful life of sobriety. “Wayside House was the best years of my life. I told them I wanted to come home to Truro with my head held high and show my community what I really am. That is what I’ve been trying to do ever since,” he smiled.

This kind, compassionate, and humble fellow is now very happy with his life. He shared, “I feel like my grandfather would be very proud of me. He was the family backbone, and I felt that no matter how bad I messed up as a kid he loved me.” How is your family life now?” I asked curiously. ”I have my daughter every Sunday; that's my best day of the week. I love hanging out with my grown son who has given me a beautiful granddaughter,” he grinned, “We share a lot of laughs; we are so much alike. I joke around constantly. I love to make people laugh.” I asked, "Do you have any hobbies”? He lit up, “Yes, I find old toys and fix them. If I cannot make them work, I create something different out of them,” he continued, “I also like to get crafty with wood and build neat things.”

Lastly, I asked Cory, “Do you have a favourite quote or motto that you try to live by?” He grinned,” I believe in karma that's for sure. You get what you put out in life. I want to be debt free when it's my time,” he laughed,” I could probably make God laugh when I meet him; he may let me in, but I want to be sure!” I couldn’t agree more. You can never have too much good karma - pass it on!

Meet Carolyn – A Book Lover Who Gets Distracted by Shiny Things

“I love the people. There's a great sense of community here. Truro is also the perfect size community for me; big enough that there's always something going on and small enough that whatever you do you'll run into people you know. It was also a great place for us to raise our kids,” Carolyn told me about how she feels since moving to Truro with her, then boyfriend now husband, back in 1990 to start a new chapter in their lives.

Their new chapter included having two children who are now grown; Laura, 19 and David, 22. “Laura just finished her first year at Mount Allison University, and David just graduated from Acadia with a Bachelor of Kinesiology, and he's starting his B. Ed there this fall,” she smiled. “You must be so proud of their accomplishments,” I remarked. “I'm a very proud mama. Both of their academic achievements and the adults they've become. Both understand the value of giving back. David coached soccer for a couple of summers and Laura was making comfort dolls for the IWK. They're also both really good cooks. They are amazing young adults,” she giggled, “Although I may be a tiny bit biased!”

It didn’t take me long to find out why her children excel at academics and enjoy volunteering. In addition to her love of animals, knitting, and good food, this self-proclaimed homebody, LOVES books and enjoys helping others. “I am one of the organizers for the Lillian Shephard Book Award for Excellence in Children's Book Illustration and I sit on the board of the Atlantic Book Awards,” she smiled, “Since March, I've also knit baby hats for the IWK as a donation.” I asked, “When did you develop a love of books?” She replied, “I've loved books forever. I don't remember falling in love with them.” I inquired, “Do you have a favourite author or book?” She laughed, “You might as well ask me which of my kids I love more. I primarily read fiction, but I could never narrow it down to a specific favourite.”

Lastly, I asked, “What talent do you wish you had?” She giggled, “I wish I could carry a tune. I love singing but no one likes hearing it!” She continued, “I also wish I could draw, but the talent I most admire is writing. Not just the ability to tell a good story, but to create a world.  I wish I had the tenacity to sit down and do it.” She laughed again,” But, I'm too much like a crow and distracted by other shiny things.” I thank you Carolyn for sharing your story….distractions and all.

Meet Katie, Jesse, Melissa and Jack – A Blessed Life Filled with Love, Laughter and Joy

Melissa is a self-described able, dependable person with a great sense of humor who wears many hats. I asked her to tell me a little bit about herself. “I have owned a salon for 6 years now called Jack Of All Shades Hair Design. I am also the coordinator for the Christmas Index Program and help with the actors and costumes for the River Breeze Haunted Corn Maze. I have a wonderful 5 year old son, who brings so much joy into mine and my fiancé life each and every day. I have a very busy life but am blessed to be able to enjoy so many parts of it,” she smiled.

I wondered what motivates Melissa to be so involved in her community. “My family and friends is what motivates me. I enjoy seeing how much a small gesture can bring so much joy to someone’s life.” She also shared that she has been playing drums with Branch 26 Truro Legion Pipes and Drums Band for 10 years! “We do many local events and parades. We were going to go to Holland to play for the 75th D-Day celebration, however, due to Covid-19, it has been put on hold,“ she smiled graciously, “To see a veteran sing along to the tunes our band is playing is such a blessing.”

Our conversation quickly turned back to Melissa’s family where she happily shared with me why she loves them so much. “Katie and I have been together for 3 years. She is my best friend and love of my life. She adores Jesse and we look forward to one day expanding our little family. She is ambitious, funny and caring. Not a day goes by that we don't just stop our busy lives and enjoy a moment of laughter,”
with a warm smiled she continued, “Jesse just turned 5. He is a very kind hearted little boy. He loves to explore and is always interested in how things work. He sees people for who they are, not what they are. We are so proud of him each and every day.” He sounds like an awesome little fella with great role models.

Melissa also loves to see people for who they are, and not what they are. This is why she recently joined the Truro Pride Board. “I wanted to bring a different perspective to the Board. Raising a son, engaged to another woman, there isn't much for events and other support groups. I wanted to reach out to bring more families together,” she said. Her comment reminded me of this beautiful quote, “All families are different and unique, but they all have one thing in common—love.” I couldn’t agree more.

Meet Christa - Your Heart Can Never be Too Big

This mom of two boys aged 26 and 14, is a self-proclaimed “country girl” through and through. Christa was born and raised in Kemptown; a little community outside of Truro where she has been a local bus driver for 20 years! “I drive all the students from pre-primary to high school from Kemptown to Truro. I just love the kids,” she beamed. I asked curiously,” How did you make the decision to drive a school bus?” She smiled, “I decided when my kids were starting school. I needed to be around them so bus driving would do that. I love chatting with the kids and meeting new people! The more I can do for people the happier I am.”

What a lovely way to be, the more you do for people the happier you will be. I wondered who inspired her to be this way. “My Gram was my favourite person ever. She always did good deeds for everyone and never complained, strongest lady I’ve ever known,” she recalled fondly. “Besides my mom, Gram was one of the best for sure!” I suddenly felt my heart swell as I recalled fond memories of my grandmother who was also my one my favourite people. I shared, “Just thinking about her brings tears to my eyes….I have tears right now.” After a short pause she replied, “Me too.”

Christa may be an only child, but she never felt alone during her childhood since she actually grew up on a little farm living with her grandmother, grandfather, mom, and aunts and uncles. “How was that experience? “I asked. “I loved it! My aunts and uncles feel more like my sisters and brothers. We all lived together until my Gram passed away,” she said. They may not live together anymore, but Christa still feels close to that special time in her life. “My grandmother’s property is just behind my house. I walk there every day with my two dogs and I definitely know that is home”, she smiled. “I love all animals, and I hope to build a new house on that property someday and have lots of horses.”

What a wonderful legacy that would be, to make special use of the land where she grew up and to keep it in the family for her kids and maybe their kids someday. Christa left me to ponder two of her favorite life mottos: “Whatever you do, do it well” and “Your heart can never be too big.” Lastly she said, “I feel if we have more people doing good for other people and paying it forward, maybe the world will be a better place.” I couldn’t agree more Christa. Here’s to making the world a better place.

Meet Carolyn – An Animal and Food Lover with a Cause

Carolyn is originally from Topsail, Newfoundland but now calls Truro home. “I went to Mt. Allison University, where I met my now husband, Dennis. After graduating, we moved to Winnipeg and lived there for 14 years. Dennis is originally from Belmont, so we always knew we would move to Truro which we did in 2009,” she said. I asked, “Do you ever miss Topsail?” She smiled, “Although, I love living in Truro, there are times when I miss the Newfoundland ocean as there is nothing like it. It just settles my soul to see the water in my bay,” she giggled, “And I can tell my bay from any other water body on earth!”

There are a few other things that settle Carolyn’s soul; her love of nature, hiking, and most importantly, using her rural voice to make a difference. “I feel it is important to have a rural voice on Provincial Boards. I am a Director-At-Large on the provincial NS SPCA Board. I started this volunteer role about a year ago, “she shared. “I grew up with many pets: cats, gerbils, rabbits, guinea pigs, dogs and mice. I strongly believe that animals need and deserve our respect, compassion and protection. For me, volunteering for the SPCA was a great fit,” she said. Carolyn is also fortunate to have rescue cats as members of her family. Her two fur babies, Lucas and Charlie, bring such joy to her life that she shares their funny antics with others through her Instagram page!

In addition to serving on the NS SPCA Board, Carolyn also serves on the Taste of Nova Scotia Board of Directors which promotes local producers and restaurants across Nova Scotia. “It was an easy fit as my husband is a chef and owner of Bistro 22,” she smiled. We are so fortunate here in NS to have the array of fruits, vegetables, fishers, distilleries, wineries, cheesemakers, you name it...all so nearby,” she said proudly to which I couldn’t agree more.

This determined, passionate, caring woman works full time, serves on two Boards, and is a ‘once in a while’ 5k runner. I wondered if she had any other hobbies or passions so I asked to which she quickly answered, “I read… A lot! I have participated in a 50 book pledge for the last five years or so. I am about to finish book #31 for this year!” Wow, I thought to myself as I am not sure if I’ve read 31 books in my life.

I think Dr. Seuss said it best, “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you’ll go.” I am not sure where your next book will lead Carolyn, but I am sure it will be a beautiful place. 

Meet Kelly – "Horsing Around" is Her Job

This lady with an infectious smile grew up in the small town of Canso before moving to Antigonish to attend St. FX University where she received a Bachelor of Arts degree. In 2004, she moved to Truro with her then boyfriend now husband to be closer to the Truro Raceway. “After holding several positions at the Raceway, I’m now the General Manager for Truro Raceway since 2018, “she said proudly.

This Mom of three young children did not originally have a passion for horses. “My husband grew up in a harness racing family. His father raced horses in Inverness. I on the other hand, had no love of horses prior to meeting my husband,” she giggled. “Can I tell you a secret?” I asked. “I am scared of horses…and any other animal that is bigger than me! Childhood trauma,” I laughed. She quickly piped up, “I was also afraid of horses! When I was a child, after swimming at a wharf down the street from where I lived, a horse got loose and chased me into a bus shelter and proceeded to nip at me through the door.” She continued, “So I’ve come a long way,” we both laughed in agreement.

I asked her how her three young children feel about horses and her job. “My middle child, she likes the horses but it’s not her favorite thing. My son also likes the horses but again, it’s not something he couldn’t live without. My oldest, she eats sleeps and dreams horses… and hockey.” Kelly knows that she is a female working primarily in a male dominated industry. She is proud to be a role model for her children. “Not many women manage race tracks. I like to show the kids that women can do anything men can do.” She grinned, “My daughter got a kick out of me driving our starting gate a couple weeks ago.” I asked, “What does motherhood mean to you?” With a warm heart she replied, “Motherhood is fun; seeing so many similarities between my husband and I in our children. I love watching them grow up to be so smart and independent.”

We enjoyed a bit more conversation and laughs before I asked her two last questions, “Do you have a favourite motto that you try to live by?” She laughed, “I’m a dork! I love Judge Judy and her quote, “If you tell the truth, you don’t have to have a good memory!” One last question, “If you could only use 3 adjectives to describe yourself, what would they be?” She paused, “Oh gracious....I’ve been told I’m not bossy, that I have leadership skills, “she laughed. “No, I’ve been told I’m fair, dedicated and hard working.” Well, Kelly I also believe you are those things and so much more. 

Meet Tehya – A Young Powwow Dancer Who Takes Pride in Her Culture

Tehya is a student at Truro Junior High School where she played volleyball and hockey for her school team. “I'm going to Cobequid Educational Centre when school starts up for grade 10,” she said. As going to a new school is a big change, I wondered how she felt about it.  She smiled, “I'm excited to finally go to high school and be with my friends again.”

Close friendships are not only good for your physical and mental health; your social circle can boost your well-being at school and within your community. This well-rounded young lady is a very talented Powwow dancer her community of Millbrook and beyond. I asked, “How long have you been dancing?” She laughed, “Since I could walk.” She shared that she dances at many Powwows, but the one in Millbrook is her favourite because she feels good to be around all her family and friends. “Being Indigenous is great, and I love being able to share my culture with people who haven't experienced it like I have.” She continued, “I know we face a lot of racism but I never let it get to me. I take pride in my culture and where I come from.”

Tehya is so strong and wise at the young age of fourteen. I wondered who she looks up to, or who inspires her. Without hesitation she answered, “My mom and my cousin’s wife, Cheyenne. She's like a big sister to me, and she is always there to help me.” I asked, “Are you an only child?” She grinned, “No, I have two older brothers.” I commented, “Oh, I see why Cheyenne is like a big sister then,” to which we both laughed.  

 I thought it would be fun to ask Tehya a couple of fun questions before we ended our conversation.  “What’s your favourite food, and dessert?”  She was quick to reply “Cheesecake, and salted caramel ice cream.” Oh, tasty choices I thought to myself before asking, “What’s your favourite genre of music?” She smiled softly, “R & B music is my favourite.” It has been said that R & B music can create a sense of calm, power, and uplift your spirit while the lyrics often talk about overcoming struggles and succeeding. A perfect fit for a beautiful spirit who I believe is going to make a big difference in this world.

Meet Cayla – Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost

Cayla’s journey started in Saskatchewan where she was born and raised. However, this Prairie girl dreamed of the ocean since the age of 12. “I wanted to be a Marine Biologist. I fell in love with the ocean through movies, documentaries and books. I was just this small town prairie girl who wanted to study whales in the ocean, having never seen the ocean in real life,” she giggled. In 2010, she moved to Nova Scotia and saw the ocean for the first time!

She started studying Marine Biology at Dalhousie University, but after completing 2.5 years of her Degree, realized it was no longer her true calling. “I was 25 years old when I realized I didn't actually want to do that anymore. It took my dad passing away of brain cancer to find my passion for health, which ultimately lead me on the path to where I am now at 31.”

Over the past ten years, Cayla has lived in Halifax, Saskatchewan, Victoria, BC for three months, Walvis Bay, Namibia for a month, and she even tried van life for a short period of time! Wow, that is a lot of exploring I thought to myself. I asked her how that shaped her into the person she is today. She replied, “On the outside, it has always looked to people as though I'm lost, but I like to look at it as wandering to find myself. It’s been so beneficial to me,” she smiled. “I have a tattoo on my arm that reads, ‘Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost’. I feel that every path you take in life is so essential.”

Now, Cayla is a Licensed Holistic Nutrition Practitioner, and likes to help people find their healthy balance in a simple way too. “It's very important for me to build a life that I don't really need a vacation from, and I like to help others do the same.”

I believe Ralph Waldo Emerson quote sums it up beautifully, “It’s the not the destination, It's the journey.” Cayla was definitely on a journey, and I am happy that her journey led her to Truro, and to speaking with me.

Meet Helen – An 81 year old Dancer Who Loves to Polka!

This lovely woman is the current President of the Good Time Senior Dance Club in Truro. The Club has been renting space for their weekly Tuesday night dance at the Truro Legion since 1985. That’s right, 1985! The Club, who has been a registered non-profit organization since 1980, was ready to celebrate its 40th anniversary in June before Covid-19 changed the plans. “We do not hold dances during July and August. However, we are hoping to start again in September and celebrate then - fingers crossed,” she smiled.

Helen has been a member of the Dance Club for 30 years! That’s a lot of dancing. “I love music, and moving to it. I like the Old time waltz and my favourite is the polka!” There’s no dust on this 81 year old dancing queen. She happily continued, “We have what we call "peel off" where the ladies line up facing the right of musicians stage, and men on the left. As turns come up, they meet, dance around the floor a couple times, and the lady is dropped off at end of ladies line. The next gent goes up to get the next lady in line, and so on. This gives everyone a chance to dance even if they don't have a regular partner.”

In addition to a great evening of dancing to the 5 piece band, the members also enjoy a shared lunch, tea, coffee, and also 50/50 draw for those who would like to purchase tickets. This Club sounds like a lot of fun! “Do you have to be 55 years old and up to join the Club?” I asked. She replied, “It was set at 55 but we no longer follow it. If anyone would like to dance to Country & Western music which includes "Waltz Quadrille “sets, they are welcome. The more the merrier but no liquor allowed.”

Since there are no Club dances during the summer, I wondered what Helen does to keep active. “I bowl on Thursday afternoons, with certain restrictions due to Covid-19,” she said. “What is your favourite thing about summer?” I asked. She giggled, “Well at my age, I’m not into going to the beach,” she continued, “However, I do enjoy warm days. I like the freedom to move around walking and driving without thinking of storms like I do in the winter.”

After chatting with Helen, I was left with a feeling of how important social interaction, physical activity, and community involvement really are to everyone. She graciously invited me to attend one of their dances when they are able to resume, and you know what? I think I just may take her up on that offer. Just as country music icon Lee Ann Womack’s song lyrics say, “And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance.” 

Happy Birthday Shelly!

We received this special message for you....

"If you’re blessed enough to recognize this face, help me flood the internet with all of the vibes she has sent into the universe.

She’s an amazing Mom, loving wife, adoring Auntie, and the best friend you could have.

She has an incredible ability to recognize positive qualities in any person, and the positive (or the lesson) in any situation.

Her attitude, smile, and laughter make this world a better place."

Shelly, today is your day to shine. You’ve shown us all how far a little kindness can go in this crazy world and we’re sending it all back to surround you today.

Love & Happiest Birthday Wishes 

Meet Brittany – Mental Health Struggles Did Not Stop Her From Achieving Her Goal

This young lady with the soft warm brown eyes has lots to celebrate these last couple of months.  She is finally a proud grade 12 graduate!  She started the Adult Learning Program at NSCC in 2016. She was a part-time student for almost four years due to life, and her own mental health struggles.  After congratulating her on this milestone accomplishment, I asked her how she felt. “Now I can say I have finally made it, and I am a grade 12 graduate at the age of 25! I couldn’t be more proud of myself,” she smiled and continued, “I didn’t think I was ever going to get here because I struggled so much. It is definitely a huge accomplishment!”  

Brittany struggles with high functioning anxiety, depression, a touch of PTSD, and borderline personality disorder.  She credits her biggest cheerleaders for giving her the love, and support she needed to accomplish her goal. “My boyfriend and I will be celebrating our 5 year anniversary in August, and I am so happy with him.  I also have an 8 year old son who is my world,” she beamed.  I asked, “What is one of your fondest memories of your time at school?” She smiled, “My teachers. They are all part of my success.” Her advice for others who are thinking about going back to school, “Do it! It’s not easy going back as an adult, but it’s the best decision you will ever make.”

This strong, determined, gracious young lady told me her life’s motto is “just take things day by day.” I couldn’t agree more as it is important to live in the moment. I asked, “What do you enjoy?” She replied, “I love to go for walks on trails or around the duck pond, I love swimming, I’m a Netflix addict, I have a tea mug addiction, I’m an animal lover” she laughed, “and I love to sleep!”  

Before ending our conversation, Brittany thanked me many times for chatting with her. “I try my best, and I appreciate you noticing by just listening to me. You don’t even realize how much that means to me, and I appreciate all your kind words, “she said. Once again, my heart was full of gratitude for having the opportunity to speak with this amazing young lady. Brittany, I do not know you personally, but I can tell you that I am very proud of you.  You are truly an inspiration. Congratulations 2020 Grad!

Meet Cory – People are Surprised When They Find out His Line of Work

This 29 year old local Funeral Director and Mortician has a personality is as bright and warm as his amazing smile. Yes, you read that right. Cory is not the typical image of someone you envision in this profession. “I am a young guy to be in this profession. A lot of people have images of what an “undertaker” should look like, and it’s not me,” he smiled. Cory has been working in the profession since 2012 after completing his Funeral Services education at the NSCC Kingstec Campus in Kentville.

I just had to ask, “What is the reaction of people when you tell them about your line of work?” He quickly answered, “Wide eyes!” He continued, “Honestly, when people think about this type of work, they generally think about the dead. However, most of my time is actually spent with living.” I wondered if he is spiritual person. He replied, “Definitely, it’s what orientates my life and allows me to do what I do. It is a difficult profession, and it’s important to be spiritually and emotionally grounded in order to assist people in what is often times the most difficult moments of their lives.”

I decided to shift gears and learn more about this amazing guy on a personal level. I found out that he volunteers at the First Baptist Church Homeless drop in, and he works with the Sacred Heart Church in Millbrook as a lay minister, and enjoy a close relationship with the Mi'kmaq community. He also enjoys hiking, Victoria Park, a good meal, and driving around visiting different parts of the province. “Where do you plan on visiting this summer?” I asked. “I’d like to visit the French shore,” he replied. “Do you speak French?” I inquired. He laughed, “Not really, I am tinkering away at it thanks to Duo Lingo!” He continued, “We have so much natural beauty to discover in life. More magnificent than any human hands have created!”

I also discovered that his favourite foods are seafood, lamb, fish and chips, and favourite ice cream is flavour is bubblegum. And, he has a HUGE affinity for French Bulldogs! “Why French Bulldogs?” I asked curiously. With his signature smile, he grinned and answered, “They’re easy going, lively, sociable...I feel that I have these qualities, so I think we would get along ok!” I couldn’t agree more Cory 

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