Dorchester Mayor J.J. Bear, at left, presents the key to the village of Dorchester to Hubert Purdy, at right, at his home on Saturday. Purdy was unable to attend the official ceremony held in the village square in conjunction with the annual Sandpiper Festival. LEBLANC PHOTO
DORCHESTER, NB – The village of Dorchester has named its Citizen of the Year for 2014.
During the official opening ceremonies of the annual Sandpiper Festival on Saturday, long-time village resident Hubert Purdy was given the key to the village and honoured for his many contributions to the community. Unfortunately, Purdy was unable to attend the brief ceremony so the honours and certificate were accepted by his son Michael.
Dorchester Mayor J.J. Bear said he was honoured and privileged to pay homage to a gentleman who has lived in Dorchester for more than 55 years.
“I want to present the key to our village to a man who is very deserving of it,” he said.
Hubert Purdy was born in Millvale, NS into a family that included six brothers and five sisters. In 1943 he joined the Nova Scotia Highlanders Militia, soon after enlisting in the Royal Canadian Army Service Corp. During WW II, as a member of the 4th Canadian Armoured Division he entered Belgium, Holland and Germany where he suffered the first of three serious battle injuries. As a result of his participation in WW II battles, Purdy also lost much of his hearing.
Returning to Canada on August 5, 1945, Purdy soon married the love of his life, Ida O’Ressa Dickie, whom he had met prior to serving overseas during the war. The pair operated a full service garage in Nova Scotia for a number of years before relocating to Dorchester in 1959 where Hubert took employment at the penitentiary. During a subsequent 28 year career with Correctional Services Canada, he also worked at the Blue Mountain Correctional Camp and Westmorland Institution, from where he retired in 1985 as acting farm manager.
The couple raised five sons and had many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
“Their door was always open to local youth who felt at ease in the Purdy home and over the years many talented young musicians could be heard blasting rock and roll music from Hubert and Ida’s basement during band practices,” Bear noted.
The Purdy’s were very community minded and after moving to Dorchester Hubert joined the Masons and was a member of The Eastern Star while also serving in several capacities on the Dorchester village council in the 1970s.
“During his time as recreation councillor several initiatives were started to provide local youth with activities,” Bear added.
Hubert Purdy was awarded a number of military service medals earned during WW II. As well, he was given lifetime membership for outstanding service by the Royal Canadian Legion and was honoured by Correctional Services Canada for exemplary service. In 2007 he was recognized by the Province of New Brunswick with a Community Leadership Award.
Sadly, Ida Purdy passed away in 2002, but at 90 years of age Purdy currently still lives in his own home and continues to provide support for community events and charities.
“A person of great integrity, honesty and community giving, Hubert Purdy has and continues to be, an inspiration and positive role model to his family and to this community,” noted 2014 Junior Mayor Ryan Cadman.