KENTVILLE – A nursery school is letting a legion member know he is one of its own after a hospital stay prevented him from his annual Remembrance Day talk at the school.
Donald Job, 89, is a member of the Royal Canadian Legion in Kentville. When ABC Nursery School began its Remembrance Day event in 1979, veterans would visit the school to speak to kids about what wearing a poppy symbolizes.
This is the first year Job was unable to attend since he took over the event 29 years ago. Because he’d always joke with students that he’d never graduated from nursery school, ABC Nursery director Corinne Langley Mayfield is set to change that this year.
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“We will give him the same certificate our four-year-olds get when they graduate, and will surprise him with it when he’s able to come present to the kids,” she says.
Job says he was “very upset” to have missed the talk this year and felt impatient waiting to get the go ahead from his doctor to travel and visit the school.
He says the event is one he “enjoys immensely, and gets better year after year, if you can believe it.”
“The look of the children when you’re talking – they are so attentive. I get such a thrill about just being able to explain what a great country we live in, and what the poppy means to our citizens,” says Job.
Mayfield says Job is instrumental in helping the kids understand that crucial context. Despite their young age, Mayfield says some students in their second year at the school recognize Job – or maybe his uniform or medals – from the year before and remember learning about poppies and the First World War.
“I always talk to them about what an amazing country Canada is, and the role it played in helping others win their freedom back. My biggest thrill is seeing when they absorb some of this – they seem to know what a poppy is, and what it’s for,” says Job.
The school carried out its annual poppy campaign this year and will donate the funds raised to the Kentville legion. And when Job is able to attend and give his talk, Mayfield and the students will present him with his certificate of graduation.
But for now, that remains a surprise for Job, who is set to attend the school Nov. 20.
“As soon as I’m able to get up and around, I’ll be back there,” he says.