Faces in The Crowd – Making an Impression

Posted on July 4, 2019 under Faces in the Crowd with one comment


“I’m happy to be a good dad and a good husband. I am content that I have been able to create a comfortable and rewarding life for me my family.”

Meet Sean Brophy.

Sean was born in Stellarton and has one sibling, a younger brother. His parents separated when he was 12 years old. “This was very hard on me. I found it very tough to navigate.” His father, a nurse, relocated to Houston, Texas and Sean ended up moving with him. Going from Stellarton to downtown Houston was another traumatizing experience for a small town boy. After one year, his father moved to Huntsviille, Texas.

His high school years were filled with sports, drama, plays and art. He didn’t find the academics challenging and so, on the cusp of finishing high school, he fast tracked and received his GED.

Using a fake ID, he got his first tattoo. At the time, tattoos were taboo and anyone having one was considered a bit of a rebel. His soccer coaches commented that he wouldn’t amount to anything. His dad wasn’t happy either despite that fact that HE had a tattoo himself!

After completing his schooling, it was time to head back to Canada as he could no longer remain in the U.S. A 66 hour bus ride from Texas took him into the bowels of the central bus station in downtown New York where, for three nerve wracking hours, he hung out with the freakiest people he had ever met. When his bus for Bar Harbor arrived, they all got on the bus with him.

“I had no idea what I was coming home to.” He spent a summer with an uncle picking strawberries and decided that he needed to pursue a career.

An earlier experience in Houston may have foreshadowed his career path. He volunteered to work for two weeks on an ambulance. On his very first shift, we witnessed and help perform CPR on a man who subsequently died of a stab wound that he received while in prison.

He eventually earned a certificate from Holland College and became a paramedic. Sean describes his career as intense. Besides full time work in his chosen field, he was also involved in the union, the volunteer fire department and search and rescue.

He got married in 2000 and has two children.

“I loved my work and felt that I was serving my community. I had a sense of self- worth.” But that all changed as witnessing trauma for so many years resulted in post- traumatic stress disorder or PTSD.  ”I was in a very dark place.” He was forced to stop working and was unable to work at anything for two years while getting treatment.  He spent the better part of six months in his bedroom.

He always viewed himself as “Sean the paramedic.” He wasn’t educated for another occupation but he realized that returning to his chosen profession was not an option. “Who am I going to be now,” became the pressing question. While waiting to receive Worker’s Compensation, the family lost their home and life savings trying to stay afloat.

Over the years, he had been getting more tattoos and he started doing artwork for tattooists. His good friend and renowned tattoo artist, Jamie MacKay invited Sean to apprentice with him. A year and a half later, Sean struck out on his own and he has never looked back.

He still deals with PTSD every day of his life. He started doing jiu jitsu four years ago which has helped him immensely.

His greatest joy these days is his family. “We sit down and have dinner together every evening. It is a chance to stay connected.”

Sean continues to leave his mark as a gifted artist and tattooist. His has left a lasting impression on many people in North Eastern Nova Scotia (including the author!)  but none more so than his wife ,Tanya and his children, Morgan and Erika.



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Faces in the Crowd – Anything is Possible

Posted on May 11, 2019 under Faces in the Crowd with one comment

Maty, Len and Emelio

“Anything is possible if you put your mind to it.”
Meet Maty Amaya.

In 2012, the Argentinian economy was in shambles. Maty lost his job and was depressed. He told his family that he was going for a bike ride.Seven years and some 93,000 kilometres later, he’s still on the move.
He has visited 40 countries and is doing the Camino for the seventh time. The previous six were on his bike but this time, he’s walking. The first time he was confused and drove his bike in the opposite direction!
In December 2017, he was biking through Italy around Christmas. A couple saw him on the side of the road in a blizzard. They took him in and kept him for several days.
A few years earlier, this couple had been in a horrific accident. Their two children were killed and the parents were both in comas for more than six months. They awoke to find out that they were childless. They gave Maty a stuffed animal. Emilio now travels the world with Maty.
Later this month, the couple will travel to Spain and walk the final 200km with Maty… and Emilio.
Maty is a photographer and sells small prints for donations to finance his travel.
He embodies the notion that anything is possible if you try.

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Faces in the Crowd – Writing Her Own Script

Posted on February 14, 2019 under Faces in the Crowd with one comment

Looking to the Future


“I am a creative person. I have  asked many questions and have experienced a lot of life. I want to keep writing stories that create dynamic roles for Black women.”

Meet Tara Lee Reddick.

Tara grew up in Antigonish, the youngest of four children. She had an imagination, was independent minded and always wanted to travel. While many have hazy recollections of their childhood, Tara can remember vividly small details of her youth from a very young age.

After completing grade 11 in the local school system, Tara decided to do her final year of high school in Halifax. “I wanted a different and more diverse experience. I had never been taught by a Black educator and wanted to spend time with classmates who were like me.” Living and going to school in Halifax was a great education. There were plusses and minuses. “I realized that you choose friends by their character and not the color of their skin.”

The next four years of Tara’s life were very demanding. She moved to Toronto, had a child and worked at several jobs. “I went from a small town, to a larger city (Halifax) and then to a big city (Toronto). I was so busy raising a child and working that I felt I never had time to really think about my future.” She moved back to Antigonish as a single mother seeking family support which was not available in Toronto.

Tara was always writing. No scrap of paper in the household was safe when she got an idea. She was also intrigued with acting. One day, unannounced, she wandered into Filmworks in Halifax inquiring about acting opportunities. She auditioned for the CBC mini -series “North, South” and got a small role. Realizing that she needed more professional credentials she took Neptune Theatre’s Pre-Professional Theatre Program. This nine month intensive course focused on such things as acting, musical theatre and script analysis.

In 2007, she was a stand-in for the movie “Poor Boy’s Game”. She became intrigued with the process of filmmaking and watched how all the pieces in a production fit together. She decided that writing scripts was what she wanted to do. Around this time she met Ann Verrall, an independent filmmaker who was doing a lot of work with indigenous groups. They wrote some scripts together.

A turning point for Tara was when she played the role of Tituba in Two Planks and a Passion’s play “The Crucible”. “Do I want to create dynamic roles for Black women or be the token Black woman often portrayed on stage and in film?” She co-wrote and co-produced “Stroll” which was shown at the Atlantic Film Festival.

A chance meeting with Emmy Alcorn in Halifax was another game changer for Tara. Emmy was the artistic director at Mulgrave Road Theatre and asked Tara if she would like to write a play. She was asked to write about a play about a woman from Lincolnville who ends up working for the family of the legendary, Ed Sullivan, host of a very popular variety show.  While the story line was compelling, Tara wanted to write her own story about the unique richness of the Black people of rural Nova Scotia. The result was “The West Woods”, a critically acclaimed work. Not only did Tara write the script but she also acted in the production. According to Alcorn, “Tara had a big vision and she was committed to doing the work to realize her vision. She has a lot of courage and is not afraid to take on projects that require her to get outside her comfort zone. She’s very professional and she has a big heart full of generosity.”

To say that Tara leads a full and busy life would be an understatement. She is the mother of four children and continues to live and work in Antigonish. She is involved with many worthy organizations and is a gifted communicator and facilitator. She is in her third year at St.F.X and it should surprise no one that her field of studies includes Sociology and Gender Studies. She realizes that a good education is very important.

Tara has a keen sense of self and a good sense of humour.

But make no mistake, she’s writing her own script. This independent thinker is a game changer for our community.

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Highland Hearing Clinic

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