It was a well-earned honour for Vincent Joyce on Saturday afternoon as Westville Mayor Roger MacKay presented the former Pictou County resident and former Pictou Highlander with the National Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers.
Joyce was the founding and driving force behind the Pictou County Military Museum and volunteered for many years collecting, arranging and curating the museum’s collection to help it become what it is today.
The museum was opened in 2006 after a year of preparation with a board. Since its opening, the museum has marked a 10-year anniversary in 2016 boasting in excess of 15,000 artifacts, more than 2,000 military personnel profiles and more than 2,000 military profiles.
Members of Westville Town Council as well as Central Nova MP Sean Fraser and former Lieutenant-Governor J.J. Grant, as well as many of Joyce’s family members and friends were in attendance for the celebration that took place in the Westville council chambers.
The current head of the museum, David Avery, spoke during the ceremony about the work Joyce had done and the significance and importance of the museum that honours the veterans of Pictou County. A letter was also read by Avery from Advocate editor Jackie Jardine about how dedicated Joyce had been at his time at the museum before handing it over to Avery so Joyce could move closer to his family. She also spoke about the importance of and the praise for the On Guard for Thee column that features local veterans and runs weekly in The Advocate — a partnership between The Advocate and the military museum — and the positive feedback received from readers.
Joyce thanked everyone for attending the presentation and all those who helped him in creating and maintaining the museum. He also shared a quick story about how shocked he was when he was told he had been nominated for the award. He laughed as he recalled his wife handing him the phone and the voice on the other end said that it was the Governor General’s Office and Joyce replied, “No, who is it really?” He did not believe that the Governor General’s office would be calling him and told the caller that she should email him so he could be sure the call was authentic.
The Volunteer Medal is presented nationally to a volunteer who has made a significant sustained and unpaid contribution to their community.
“I would like to ask for people from Pictou County to make a small donation to the museum of $5 or $10… because we receive no provincial or federal funding,” encouraged Joyce.