TRURO – Dave MacNeil and Rick Hickox do what they do because they care.
That’s part of the reason the two members of the Truro Police Service have been recognized with Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medals.
“We’re able to be out in the community, getting to know people and it’s nice to give back. We’re very fortunate we are in positions that we can give back,” said MacNeil, the chief of the department.
“The town encourages that we get involved in the community. We can build bridges and it’s nice to be able to do that.”
The men were nominated for the award by their peers. Cape Breton Regional Police Chief Peter McIsaac put forth MacNeil’s name through the Canadian Police Association (CPA), and David Fisher, the chief executive officer of the Police Association of Nova Scotia (PANS), recommended Hickox for the award. The latter also went through the CPA.
“I was pretty surprised,” said MacNeil, acknowledging he wasn’t aware he had been nominated. “I had no idea it was coming. Obviously I am very honoured and also humbled by it.”
MacNeil, 42, has been in policing for the past 20 years. When not wearing the uniform, MacNeil can be found at a number of places.
He’s been a board member with the Colchester East Hants Mental Health Association for the past five years and is also a board member with the Central Colchester Soccer Association.
“I’ve coached basketball, soccer and hockey,” MacNeil said of some of the local volunteering he’s done.
For the past 16 years, policing has been a part of Hickox’s life. The 42-year-old received his medal at a special ceremony in Halifax in December with 11 other police officers.
“None of us knew it was being presented,” he said about the ceremony with eight additional officers from Nova Scotia and three from Prince Edward Island.
“I’m very honoured to receive it. It’s nice to be recognized by your peers for the work you do,” said Hickox.
Cpl. Hickox is the Truro area director of the PANS for the seventh year and along with working locally with the association, he attends meetings in Ottawa with the CPA.
Hickox has been a board member since 2006 with Bridges in Truro.
“It’s a men’s intervention program designed for men, and even families, that have issues with violence,” said Hickox.
He also volunteers with the Truro and Area Minor Hockey Association, the same association where MacNeil is also a coach.
“More recently, I volunteered for security with the Ignite the Spirit campaign’s Blue Rodeo concert,” Hickox said.
But the volunteering doesn’t end there. Both officers are members of a number of boards and associations, both provincially and nationally. For example, MacNeil is the vice-president of the Nova Scotia Chiefs of Police Association.
While the two officers haven’t received a medal of this honour before, they have both received long-service awards through the province.
“I personally wanted to keep this one low key,” said MacNeil about the Diamond Jubilee Medal. “There are a lot of people that do a lot of good things in this community. We’re very honoured to receive this honour though. The jubilee only happens once and it’s pretty amazing to receive it.”