Happy to be back home again
LYLE CARTER firstname.lastname@example.org @Saltwirenetwork
The name Steve Dewar was familiar to local hockey fans during the late 1970s and early ‘80s. Breaking in at a young age, Dewar played five seasons with the Truro Bearcats of the Nova Scotia Junior A Hockey League. Going on to an outstanding career in the Royal Canadian Air Force, he retired as Lieutenant Colonel Steve Dewar in June 2020. “I retired during the height of the pandemic,” Dewar, 58, said recently. “There was no opportunity to have the typical retirement farewell. This is really the first time Krista and I had to sit down and talk to someone about what life was like in the military, what it has meant to us and what it has given us.” Dewar was asked to reflect on his career. “I am extremely proud of my 32-year military career,” he said. “I’ve had the opportunity to see many parts of the world, both good and bad. I’m glad Krista and I are back home in Brookfield where it all started.” Born in Ontario, the son of Ron and Joan Dewar spent his early years living in Summerside where his father was posted during his 25-year RCAF career. An early memory is of travelling on the fairy across from Prince Edward Island to Nova Scotia. “We visited family in Truro,” Dewar said. “We spent time with my grandparents on both sides of the family. I remember visiting my uncle Carson and playing with my cousins Bruce, Glen and Randy. My grandmother Dewar owned a corner store, I can still see that penny candy.” In Summerside, Dewar was best friends with Gerard Gallant who had a stellar National Hockey League career as both a player and a coach. “We travelled to minor hockey together and we played Little League Baseball on the same team. Our team won the Prince Edward Island Little League championship when Gerard and I were 10.” Dewar was age 12 when his family, including sisters Jane, Rhonda and Lorraine, moved to Brookfield. “When we left PEI, we chose Brookfield because of the rink. My dad wanted to come to Brookfield because of the brand-new rink.” After starring in minor hockey Dewar moved up to play with the Brookfield Elks in intermediate hockey during the 1977-78 season. “I would have been fourteen when I played with the Elks. Some of my teammates would have been Robbie Cook, Mike Henderson and Raymond Frame. George Fisher and I would have been the young guys on the team.” Dewar moved to the junior A ranks the next season, he would suit up for a remarkable five seasons with the Truro Bearcats. He recalled being coached first by Ron “Alfie” Conrad, then Jed Ritcey followed by John Hutchinson. “The players I played with and against, that’s what stands out now. I got to play against Moochie Frieson, Stan Hennigar and Mike Jeffries which was really something. It was great to play with the other three Steves, Morrisey, Patton and Dennis. These were three really good hockey players.” A good softball player during the summer months, Dewar played second base with the Brookfield Elks intermediate team. “I remember playing with some good ballplayers with the Elks, guys like Herb Mccallum, Danny Dean, Danny Stewart and pitcher Tony Melanson.” Graduating from South Colchester High School in 1981, Dewar would earn his Bachelor of Commerce degree at Saint Mary’s University. Krista (nee Mackenzie), one of 10 children of John and Grace Mackenzie, grew up in Brookfield. “When I’m asked what I remember about growing up in Brookfield, I always talk about playing ball with all the neighbourhood kids,” Krista said. We played over at Donald Ross’s, we played whiffle ball and you name it, what a lot of fun.” The year 1988 was huge for Steve and Krista. It was the year he joined the RCAF and following basic training in Chilliwack, B.C. the couple were married on Dec. 31, 1988, in Brookfield. The next day they left for Upper Canada where Steve participated in French language training in St. Jean, Quebec and Krista stayed with relatives in Ottawa. Dewar’s first posting was Greenwood, 1990-1993. His 32-year career saw him posted to Edmonton, Winnipeg (three times) Comax, B.C., Eindhoven, The Netherlands, and Ottawa. “At Eindhoven, I was with the Movement Condo-nation Centre Europe, there were 28 nations represented there,” Dewar explained. “It was the height of the Afghanistan War, and our job was to deliver essential supplies into Afghanistan. My job was mainly with the Antonov 124, a big Russian aircraft. They are huge.” Dewar said Second World War history was everywhere in the Netherlands. “My most prominent memory was visiting the Grosbeak Cemetery where close to 2,000 Canadians are buried.” As we talked about deployments – besides Pristina, Kosovo, Dewar was deployed to Kuwait, Dubai, Kenya in Nairobi, Italy, Finland and Greenland. Some of these trips and assignments ranged from a few weeks to a few months. “I did three separate sixmonth deployments,” Dewar shared. “If all the time I spent away from family was added up, it would total approximately four years. Never once did Krista say ‘no’. She always supported me.” Krista agreed that she was alone a lot. “I had to make a lot of decisions when it came to our family. I used to joke ‘if I don’t do my job properly at home, Steve wouldn’t be able to do his job.’ “Steve could go away and know his family would be looked after. When I dropped Steve off at the airport, without fail, another room would have a new paint colour. I wasted little time getting to the paint store.” Posted to Ottawa in 2009, by the year 2020, retirement was within sight. “Steve’s retirement was something we always talked about,” Krista said. “We always knew we would come back home someday. Moving back and living in Pleasant Valley, we are close to Brookfield where we grew up. We love being in our own home and close to family and friends.” The couple recently built a bungalow/ranch-style house. “Steve and I both found house plans we liked, we worked together off these plans to transition it into something we could afford and love.” Steve and Krista have three grown children Devin, 28, Brayden, 26 and Hayley 23. Worth Repeating is a weekly column touching on stories from the past, life experiences and events from the present day. If you have a column idea, contact Lyle at 902 673-2857.