If you have attended a Truro Bearcats junior A hockey game at the Rath-Eastlink Community Centre you may have seen a tall senior citizen taking photos before and during games.
In his own quiet way Jim Webb enjoys helping out.
“In 1966, while in training in Regina, my brother Reg gave me a Kodak camera as a gift,” Webb, 74, of Valley, shared. “Over the years I got into using other cameras and with my work I took photos of accidents and this sort of thing. I’ve been around photography for over 50 years.”
Webb, who enjoyed a 35-year-plus career in the RCMP, was posted to Truro in 1991. He retired from the Bible Hill detachment as a Corporal in 2001.
“My wife Gloria and I began attending the Bearcats hockey games when Tim and Danny Hollet played around 2004. In following the team, I began taking photos of players and passing them on. Gloria and I still enjoy going to the games; it’s nice to follow these young players and their progress.”
Webb grew up in Charlottetown and attended Queen Charlotte High School where he was involved in competitive swimming.
“While finishing high school I worked with some of the RCMP officers in P.E.I. around swimming and life-saving. I began asking questions about the RCMP and my interest grew from there.”
At 19, Webb joined the RCMP; early postings included Ottawa, Kingston and Brockville.
“I recall that I worked racetrack duty at all three of my first postings. It was supervising betting during harness racing. I did this work on and off for three or four years; there was a lot of math involved as it was before computers. Some time later the Department of Agriculture took over the supervising duties from the RCMP.”
The year 1966 provided “a life highlight” for Webb.
“I met my wife Gloria; she was working with the Royal Bank of Canada in Ottawa.”
Gloria, from Avoca, Que., near Hawkesbury, Ont.) and the Charlottetown native were married in August 1968. Their son Jamie was born in 1971.
“In 1972 I was posted to Digby,” Webb recalled. “What stands out was that a lot of nice people lived in the Digby area and we worked a lot of hours as manpower was rather low. We were in Digby six years, one month and 12 days, most of them were good days. Gloria and I still
have good friends around Digby.”
Gloria was lonesome during her early days in Nova Scotia.
“I soon found some little jobs to do, this really helped. One job was with the newspaper, the Digby Courier. I did a little bit of everything, even some news reporting.”
Following Digby, Webb spent seven years in Amherst and seven years in Montague, P.E.I. Next came the Bible Hill posting. In summing up his career, Webb was nonchalant as he described working with customs, drugs, the highway patrol, racetrack supervising and general duties.
“When I look back now, at this age, it seems like time flew by really quickly,” said Webb. “They were good years in the RCMP, every place that I was stationed, the roads that you travelled and the people you ran into; I got to meet a lot of nice people.”
As a wife of an RCMP officer, Gloria stayed active; over the years she worked at a newspaper, a Royal Canadian Legion bar, for Canadian Tire, in a jewelry store and in a doctor’s office.
“I spent seven years volunteering in the high school guidance office in Montague. I recall two students who were really mischievous; today one of them is the Premier of P.E.I., Dennis King and the other is the Deputy Police Chief in Charlottetown, Brad McConnell.
“When Brad told me he was considering a career in police work, I told Brad you’ll do alright, you know every trick of the trade.”
Confined to a wheelchair for 15 years, Gloria is witty, thoughtful and kind. Occasionally, she treats RECC game announcers Danny Carter and Kent Loughead with candy.
And, it’s ongoing – parents and players sharing their appreciation in receiving hockey photos from Jim.
Recently, during the Pink In The Rink Night event at the RECC, the Bearcats paid tribute to the local Dragon Boat Team SOS.
Out on the ice capturing the special moment was a familiar gentleman.
Lyle Carter’s column appears every second week in the Truro News. If you have a column idea, contact him at 902-673-2857.