It’s always exciting to review the weekly possibilities that are right under our noses in Labrador West as we approach the many folks among us who are so easily qualified to fill the very definition, as a Labrador West Pioneer.
When Rol Reid popped into my head, I only smiled to myself and headed over to his house. For those among us who know Rol, you know exactly what I’m talking about. He is without any doubt, a true representation at so many levels, as a Labrador West Pioneer.
Rol arrived in Labrador West in August of 1966 from Reidville, Newfoundland. The same reason that drove so many young ones to Labrador West was what brought Rol to our community, it was the opportunity at steady, good paying work.
With accommodations being a challenge, Rol ended up staying with a family that turned out to have a long-term leap attached. The home belonged to who turned out to be Rol’s father-in-law. He stayed there and things moved along with not only his work, but in his personal life as well. Rol and Cora were married in February of 1967.
It wasn’t long until he and Cora started their family. They have a daughter who lives in Ottawa and a son in Milton, Ontario. The children, although adults now, and living their lives away, they are regular visitors back to Labrador West as time allows.
Rol began his working career at the G.M. dealership. He took his trade as a body man and worked in the shop for 10 years. He then stepped out and went on his own with his Body Shop and Taxi stand.
A fire eight years later destroyed his entire business; it was time to move on. He went to work on the Trans-Labrador Highway build that lasted seven years.
At the completion of this huge body of work, Rol went to work for the Iron Ore Company of Canada in 1989 and completed a full career inside the gate until his retirement in 2017.
When we made our way through the work and life in Labrador West during our chat with Rol, we finally got to the real fun stuff.
Rol has been from the get go, a man of the land and all of the adventures it has held for him. Rol is a hunter, it’s in his veins, and he hunts grouse, ptarmigan, rabbits and moose. His wheelhouse, as all who know him, were always the caribou.
Rol spent a great amount of time hunting caribou, most of the time with his buddy, Alex Reid (no relation). It was always a two-man show when you got the boys together and had an update on the most recent hunt. Who was the best shot, who had the best snowmobile, and all the details, good or bad on the hunt, were revelled to everyone who was lucky enough to hear the dialogue.
The boys hunted caribou for themselves, their neighbours, and the elderly folks of our community who were not able to harvest their own animals.
Rol shared a story of a hunt from their camp at Esker. They had travelled on the snowmobiles about nine miles north on Menihek Lake when the clutch blew up on Rol’s sled. They doubled up, left the machine on the Lake and returned to the camp and made a call to Morley Nippard on the Fringe radio who had a clutch.
To the rescue thanks to Morley and always ready to help, George Pardy, who pitched his plane on Menihek Lake the next morning, new clutch for Rol in his hand. Labrador West to the rescue once again from a couple of out other Pioneers, no problem, the hunt back underway again.
Rol has spent all his years helping anyone who needed his knowledge and skills with his tools in his shed. He has never turned anyone down who needed him, and has been a constant solution to so many folks and their mechanical problems.
Many stories have been exchanged during these efforts in his garage, funny though, not much money.