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B
rig.-Gen. John James Grant's
life is a story of service and
leadership. In February he
was appointed lieutenant-
governor of Nova Scotia,
but that is just the latest in
a long line of roles in service to his country.
Grant grew up in New Glasgow, a child
during the Second World War. He says he
was a member of the army cadets in high
school, "like most of the young lads." He
heard about Mount Allison from Rev.
Arthur Ebbutt, founder and first head of
the department of religious studies, who
came to town to talk to students and their
parents about the University.
At Mount Allison, Grant did a Bachelor
of Commerce in accounting and econom-
ics, but was also in the Canadian Officer
Training Corps (COTC). The COTC had
detachments at most Canadian universi-
ties in those days and was part of univer-
sity life in the 1950s. It aimed to develop
leadership skills and teach the basics of
being a good Canadian citizen, and this
was true not just for those interested in a
career in the military.
Grant remembers his university days as the
time he matured.
"As a young lad you are not always as
serious as you might be and Mount Allison
was where I learned to focus," he says. "The
smaller campus helped because you get to
know so many people. It was there that I
began to look ahead a bit and see what is
beyond the threshold of things."
The next 50 years were spent in the reserves
of the Canadian Armed Forces where he
held progressively more responsible roles,
including that of area commander of
the Atlantic Militia Area, the senior
reserve advisor to the Commander Force
Mobile Command, and the special projects
officer on the Chief of Reserves Council
at National Defence Headquarters in
Ottawa. At the same time, Grant was
running his civilian building supply busi-
ness, which often meant commuting from
his home in New Glasgow to Halifax, St.
Hubert, and Ottawa for his military duties.
"Being appointed lieutenant-governor was
the greatest honour I have had. But as you
go through life, it is the people you work
with, whether it is in business or charities,
who contribute to the places you end up,"
Grant says. "It is my family that has been
my greatest pride, as they have supported
me over all the years."
Grant, his wife, and his children, have
been involved with numerous charities.
He was president of the Saint Andrew's
Society, the Festival of the Tartans, and
the New Glasgow Rotary Club. He was
also a member of the Military Museum
Citadel Hill, the Nova Scotia Home War-
ranty Advisory, the New Glasgow Police
Commission and Downtown Develop-
ment Association, and the Nova Scotia
Army Cadet League.
"You try and serve your country and your
community the best way you can, in the
way you think is best," he says.
by Raine Phythian
"
"
You try and serve your
country and your community
the best way you can