Email this articleE-mail this story  Discuss this articleWrite letter to editor  Discuss this articleOrder a classified ad  Print this page

Longstanding officer leaves

Chris Hunsley
Northern News Services

Inuvik (May 23/05) - There will be no bumps, no changes, it will take no time at all to replace him, said Staff Sgt. Sid Gray of Cpl. Woody Woodfine's impending departure from the North.

NNSL photo

Running down his last few weeks as an officer in Inuvik, Cpl. Woody Woodfine recalled some of the Northern memories and experiences, Thursday, that he'll take with him to his new post in Nova Scotia.

"And that's about how long he'll be missed," he joked.

As the Inuvik detachment's longest standing officer prepares to move home to his stomping grounds of Nova Scotia this summer, he readily admits that he'll take away great experiences and memories he'll cherish from his four years in the North.

"You develop a real closeness with your family here," he said explaining that with fewer diversions and people than the south, more time was freed up to spend with his wife, children and close group of friends.

"We're really going to miss it here. The kids love it, Inuvik is their home. Both Lana (his wife) and I suspect they'll make their way back here."

"I'll never forget this time I went up to Sachs Harbour," he said recounting that on previous trips he'd always brought a camera in hopes of capturing the image of a polar bear in the wild. Luck eluded him, however.

This time though, his camera was not at hand.

"It just so happens that day we see 250 beluga whales sunning themselves and a few bow whales," he said excitedly.

As the pilot moved in for a better look, passengers got a birds eye view of hundreds of seals and a polar bear.

"It's all I wanted to see and I had no camera," he said in mock exasperation.

The fact that he has a new nickname and builds a hockey rink in his yard each winter and half the town's kids have graced the ice, will be another tale for the kitchen table.

"Now they call me Walter Gretzky," he said.

Originally from Cape Breton, Woodfine will be settling a few hours away in Lower Sackville when he leaves town July 23.

Lana, a former RCMP officer, will return to the force there, while children Justin, 10, Spencer, 8, and Alyssa, 5, will be able to finish their time as students without changing schools again.

"We want our children to grow up with their grandparents. It's very important to us," he said.

While Woodfine toured the public through Inuvik's detachment for Police Week, May 15-21, the singing corporal, who performed with his brother, also an officer, at Inuvik's music festival last year, described how working in the North differs from his first postings in Alberta.

"It's more of a challenge, more fast-paced up here," he said. "There's lots of opportunity to learn up here."

Due to the size of the detachment, officers can be required to perform duties that would be covered by special teams in the south giving them broader experience, he said.

Many Lessons

A greater understanding of how alcohol affects individuals and families will also accompany him to his new post.

The North presented many lessons.

"It's a unique place. You've got to see it to believe it and by that I mean you've got to see the bugs," he joked.