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Sergeant James Patrick MacNeil

July 17, 1981 - June 21, 2010
Hometown: Glace Bay, Nova Scotia
Unit: 2 Combat Engineer Regiment, CFB Petawawa


Jimmy had a big heart, a contagious smile, and a full laugh. His charisma and positive outlook on life shone through his sense of humour, with videos of him singing and dancing as proof. He had a passion for his job and his country evident through his bravery and loyalty. Always surrounded by people, Jimmy was naturally a people-person looking for the good in everyone and was always ready to give a comforting hug.

This proud Cape Bretoner was born and raised as an only child and graduated from Glace Bay High in 1999. He was the baby of his extended family and was close to his aunts, often saying he knew he was the family favourite. Jimmy was known to fall in love fast, so he devoted time to his soul mate, after growing up together and reconnecting through Facebook. Jimmy was a family man to the core, organizing family parties every time he came home. As a momma’s boy, Jimmy believed the most important thing in life was bonding with his family.

Determined to be in the army, Jimmy hid his severe asthma so he would still be able to join. He dreamed of making a difference through the army, and travelling was a bonus. He was a 10-year veteran of the Canadian Forces, joining the army at 18, and was promoted as the top master corporal in 2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group. He always brought the fun by playing pranks on his fellow soldiers throughout his four tours of duty. Jimmy also embodied excellence and professionalism, and after his third tour in Afghanistan he received the Master Corporal of the Year Award.

Jimmy exuded confidence as a built man who frequently exhibited his flexed arms. He looked intimidating as a bouncer, but all his friends and family knew he wouldn’t hurt a fly. As the athletic type, Jimmy played rugby in high school, and had an affinity for baseball and the Montreal Canadiens. He also enjoyed camping, making trips to visit his mom each summer. One year at the camp ground, Jimmy willingly participated in a fashion show where the men had to dress as women. He was the life of the party and loved to dress up for any occasion or theme, especially Halloween.

Jimmy loved children and would go out of his way to play soccer with the local kids in Afghanistan, always telling his family to send crayons, toys, and candy for them. In fact, Jimmy met a little girl who had a deformation that wouldn’t talk to anyone but him, because of his caring nature. His proudest moment in life was when his god-daughter graduated high school because he was like a father-figure to her. He would always volunteer for anything that had to do with children, like being Santa at Christmas and coaching little league baseball. Every year since his death, there have been basketball and baseball tournaments in his honour, raising money for scholarships for Cape Breton students. Knowing this would have made Jimmy proud.

A driven and outgoing soldier, Jimmy often said to live for today and don’t worry about tomorrow. He was a brave family man with a sense of humour who seized every day.

By:  Kaylen Small

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