If you subscribe to our newsletter you would have had a first look at our December Forestry Family. If you don’t, we would like to introduce you to the Veinotte Family!
It was a rainy, grey December day when I showed up at the Veinotte’s shop in Pinehurst. Any grumpiness that I was feeling was immediately washed away as I opened the door to three friendly smiles. If you have ever had the pleasure of dealing with any generation of Veinotte then you know exactly what I mean. If not, I hope I can tell you.
The Veinotte’s are owners of Veinotte’s Heavy Equipment and do a lot of the road building down here in Western Nova Scotia. Throughout this interview you will be hearing from Ivan (grandfather/father), Larry (father/son), and Clint (son/grandson).
As the four of us gather around a pile of tires and donuts I ask Ivan how long he has been in the forestry industry for.
“Well, I guess it would be around 58 years.” He responds. Me, a little surprised as he does not look like he could be old enough to have worked that many years in any industry, asks how he got into forestry.
“I lived in Ontario for a couple of years working at a muffler shop. When I came home I bought a piece of land in the area. I started cutting and hauling on that piece of land and it just kept growing.” Part of that growth included his son Larry and grandson Clint. I ask them the same question.
“About 52 years today actually because it’s my birthday” Larry was able to get out before the phone starting ringing.
“Well, I am 25, so about 25 years” Clint said with a big smile.
As someone who was not born into a forestry family I ask Clint if he ever wanted to do anything else. With a laugh he answers “No, I love it. I tried quitting school to work full-time but my Dad wouldn’t let me. I think I was around 8 when I first ran an excavator.”
Larry comes back into the room and I ask him what sparked his interest in forestry.
“Forestry” he says with a laugh “I just wanted to dig in the ground.”
“He’s always loved it.” Ivan adds. “I had to chase him out of the garage ‘cause he always got into everything! He would have been really small the first time he got into a piece of equipment, probably 6.”
For the Veinotte’s it has always been a family affair so the question seemed a bit redundant but I wonder how forestry has helped their family.
“Well, it keeps us employed” Larry said.
“We worked for Bowater for 30 years up until they closed in 2012.” Ivan added.
“Luckily we knew all the roads in the area and after they closed we had work pretty quick.” Larry chirped in “Actually I think it was two months after WestFor started that we got the call the call from Marcus. Clint built the first road for you guys.”
Turning to Clint, I ask how old he would have been when he built the road.
“Ah, I would have been around 19 when I built that one.” He responds.
As I am thinking about what I was doing at 19, I ask what his favorite part of working in forestry is. At this point Larry is going to answer the phone for the fourth time.
“Everything. I enjoy every part of it.” Clint says with the permanent smile on his face.
“I would say that my favorite part is keeping people happy and employed.” Ivan responds. “I like hoping in as a spare and running a piece of equipment if they need it but I also like the office side of things.”
Larry catches the end of this and asks what Clint said.
“I said everything.” Clint directs the answer to his dad. Larry gives him a look and says “I’ll remember that.”
“Oh, I like every part except for taking crap.” Clint blurts out at Larry.
While we are belly laughing at this, I take a second to catch my breath and ask a question which, at this point, I already know the answer to.
“How is it working together every single day?” I say and by every single day, I mean every single day. This family spent Christmas eve, Christmas, New Years Eve, and New Years day working together.
“We love it.” Ivan says. “99% of the time we love it.”
And the other 1%…?
“We don’t talk to each other.” Says Clint with a laugh.
“Or we use loving “choice” words.” Larry adds laughing as well.
From this point on those loving “choice words” were used as the four of us stood around laughing at each other.
Leaving the shop my cheeks hurt from smiling and my heart is full from my time with such a beautiful, welcoming family. I was beyond grateful that through their busy schedule and one million phone calls, they made time to speak with me.
These men are the backbone of our economy here in Nova Scotia and we should be proud that they are.