If you subscribe to our newsletter you would have had a first look at our November Forestry Family. If you don’t, we would like to introduce you to the Hankison Family!
It was one of those miserably cold, grey November days that we are all too used to here on the East Coast as I traveled down the Riverdale road found in Digby County.
It is an area that has been logged for over two centuries. While we have public blocks in the area, I was visiting the Hankinson’s on one of their private blocks.
Despite the cold weather (and me interrupting their work day) I had the pleasure of chatting with three generations of Hankinson’s men. Roger: father and grandfather, Sandy: father, son, and brother, Leo: brother, son, and uncle, and Scott: son and nephew.
Starting with the most handsome of the bunch, I ask Roger how long he has been in the industry for.
“I got my first truck in ’75 but my dad was in forestry. He owned 2500 acres around Bend in the River area and had a pulp mill.” Roger responded. “It was the best growing area.”
“I was seven when my dad got his first truck.” Leo confirmed. I ask the three remaining Hankinson’s the same question.
“Forever.” Sandy responded with a laugh. “Leo and I started our own business in ’89.” Their business was awarded Contractor of the Year for the Atlantic Region from the Canadian Woodlands Forum in 2003.
“When I was finished my mechanics program and Sandy finished at Ranger school we started up.” Leo added.
“How old were you when you cut your first tree down Scott?” Sandy yelled at his son getting out of his harvester.
“I don’t know, it was my first memory.” Scott said.
“I have a picture of Scott in a diaper after just cutting down his first tree. So he was born into it as well.” Sandy said proudly.
“I always wanted to go to work with my dad.” Scott said. “I started getting paid at eight years old and I have been harvesting for 10 years. If I was bad in school my punishment was not going to work.”
“His mother is a school teacher.” Leo pointed out. “Scott was always very good in school. Good grades and tutoring others kids but every holiday or weekend Sandy and I would switch to night shift and our boys would run the day.”
“I even used to lay down in the back seat when I was younger so their boss wouldn’t see me going to work.” Scott smiled. “I’ve always loved it.”
Besides being in forestry it is evident that all four of these men are mechanically inclined. Roger, Leo, and Curtis, all took heavy duty or some type of mechanics. Scott welded a boom together just a few days before. Curtis currently works at Wilsons as a heavy duty mechanic.
“My son is on his way down right now.” Leo said smiling. “He’s taking tomorrow off to come and work with us.”
As someone who loves people, I have spent a lot of time with many different families but I have very rarely seen one that enjoys spending this much time together.
“We’re best friends.” Sandy stated. “We aren’t even one full year apart.”
“We’re the same age for one week.” They say in complete unison.
“We have fun. Last weekend we were out competing in the woods.” Leo said with a smile.
As a family that has been in forestry for at least four generations, I have to ask what their hope is for the sector in the future.
“To keep working.” Sandy said. “We know that it can be done. We cut everything you saw on your drive in here.”
“There are some stands here that we cut before we had kids and now we are hauling stud wood out and putting trails through.” Leo states.
Spending time with this family that has supported themselves for at least four generations with forestry fills me with hope for the future of our sector.
For more information on the Hankinson’s and their accomplishments please visit this link:
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