Times like these make Troy MacCulloch wish he was home.
The former New Glasgow town councillor, currently working as the CAO in Pincher Creek, AB, is homesick, and heart sick.
He learned this week that a cousin and her partner were among the victims of mass killings that started in the Portapique community last weekend.
“Shocked” is the word MacCulloch used to describe how he felt about the horrific chain of events that unfolded several days ago in neighbouring Colchester County.
His cousin, Alanna Jenkins, and her partner Sean McLeod are among the 22 confirmed deaths, so far.
MacCulloch never misses an opportunity to brag about his home province and all that it offers while he is away working.
“We were riding such a high with this Ultimate Kitchen Party,” he said in reference to the Facebook page created by local resident Heather Cameron Thomson in an effort to keep people’s spirits up during the COVID-10 lockdown and which currently has in excess of 267,000 members.
“Thank God for it because I can just imagine the families seeing some of the comments coming in, not just from across the country but from across the world. There is some solace there. Even though we can’t be with them, we’re standing with them and giving them as much strength and support as we can from a distance.”
A Bluenoser himself with a family member as a victim, MacCulloch admits, “I took a lot of solace from the people all over the world who were sending very thoughtful messages. And I think it’s because they appreciated what we offered, as Nova Scotians, with the Kitchen Party. And they’re sharing what’s right about us, and what’s good about us. I think that, in itself, speaks volumes.”
The Kitchen Party, he said, put Nova Scotia’s best foot forward and showed the world what we’re all about.
After speaking with his cousin, Dan Jenkins, about Dan’s daughter Alanna, MacCulloch says he is heartsick for his family back home.
“But even if I was home I couldn’t go to see him,” due to the COVID-19 social distancing restrictions. At a time when a physical hug can communicate what words cannot, MacCulloch is unable to offer that small measure of comfort. And, being so far away, has no way of receiving it, either.
“And that’s what makes this so strange.”
MacCulloch says he has never seen his cousin Dan without a smile on his face “and that devilish grin of his. And I’d hate to see anything take that away from him. I can’t even begin to understand the depth of his sorrow right now.”
Nova Scotians are strong and resilient, MacCulloch says, and stand together.
“People talk about the hardships in Nova Scotia, particularly with regard to our fishermen, yet they still go out to sea. It’s the same with police officers; they know the perils they face and never know which day may be their last, but they still go.”
MacCulloch knows what he’s talking about. He spent a short time as a police officer in his younger days and says one his first duties as a fresh Police Academy recruit was to attend the heart-breaking funeral of a fellow cadet in the summer of 1991.
The fact that there is strength in numbers is a consolation for MacCulloch who says he is taking solace in the knowledge that his family (Jenkins) is a large one and they can be there to help support each other, even from a distance.
Troy MacCulloch posted his photo to Facebook with the message: Our flags at half staff here in Alberta for my home province of Nova Scotia. With everything else going on in the world right now, this is almost unbearable, even more so to be away. I pray for all the victims, but especially for members of our Jenkins family and also an officer in line of duty. May they all rest in peace. #novascotiastrong