MacKenzie, Hoyt revel in veterans’ fellowship

By February 4, 2020Remember

Hector MacKenzie, left, and Earl Hoyt were among veterans who were treated to a mid-day meal by the Admiral Murray Branch of the Royal Canadian Navy Association.
(Goodwin photo)

By Steve Goodwin

Two veterans are enjoying the fellowship and comfort that comes with residing at the Northumberland Veterans Unit.

Hector MacKenzie and Earl Hoyt have options of spending time alone, with fellow residents and travelling on the bus the unit has to transport them to events around Pictou County.

MacKenzie will turn 100 on November 22.

“I feel pretty good for my age,” he said.

MacKenzie grew up and lived in Gairloch “right by the lake.” He was a fixture with the Pictou County Fiddlers not that long ago but no longer performs with the group.

“I wish I was,” he said. “I started when I was young and I enjoyed it.”

MacKenzie served as a ground engineer in Canada with the Royal Canadian Air Force during the Second World War, so he was not in combat.

“It was a good life,” he said. “I enjoyed the training that kept us in good shape.”

Hoyt, 95, is originally from River John and performed gunnery service after he joined the Royal Canadian Navy in September 1943 and served until the Second World War ended.

“We sailed out of Halifax on convoy duty,” he said. “I guess when you’re young it’s exciting. I can’t say it was the best job in the world, but was exciting. The thing is, it was dangerous because the enemy was there, but you didn’t know where.”

Hoyt travelled and was employed in different capacities in various parts of Canada following his service.

He eventually joined the Truro police force and was with the force for 11 years before he became a probation officer for 22 years in New Glasgow and elsewhere until his retirement.

“That was a better job than being a police officer,” he said. “It was better pay and I didn’t have to work all hours.”

Hoyt appreciates how he is cared for at the veterans’ unit.

“This is the best place if you don’t have a home,” he said. “I look after myself pretty well, but I’m a little slower. Age caught up to me.”

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