Cancer claims mayor

Out­spo­ken Trent Hills mayor Hec Macmil­lan loses long, pub­lic bat­tle with the dis­ease

Northumberland Today - - FRONT PAGE - PETE FISHER

TRENT HILLS - A man who fought for the peo­ple passed away Tues­day morn­ing after bat­tling cancer.

Trent Hills Mayor Hec­tor Macmil­lan passed away at the age of 59.

Fam­ily broke the news on Tues­day morn­ing that Macmil­lan had died, sur­rounded by his wife Sandy and four chil­dren.

The mayor of Trent Hills for 14 years and twice war­den of Northum­ber­land County was known through­out his com­mu­nity and well be­yond for tak­ing on the fight after he was di­ag­nosed with pan­cre­atic cancer in Jan­uary 2016.

Doc­tors said he would be gone by Christ­mas, but through his fight, and de­ter­mi­na­tion and will to find a cure, Macmil­lan lived long well after what doc­tors had told him.

When the Province of On­tario wouldn’t help, Macmil­lan was set to travel to the United States, but end­ing up go­ing to Ger­many for nano-knife surgery.

Macmil­lan made no bones about call­ing on the On­tario gov­ern­ment to make avail­able the surgery for cancer pa­tients.

Macmil­lan said the nano-knife surgery was be­ing used in more than 50 hos­pi­tals in the United States and de­manded it be used for On­tario pa­tients.

Five years ear­lier, Macmil­lan con­quered oe­sophageal cancer.

Northum­ber­land County is­sued a re­lease by Northum­ber­land County War­den Mark Walas stat­ing Macmil­lan lost his “brave bat­tle” with cancer on Tues­day morn­ing.

Walas stated Macmil­lan, “was an ab­so­lute force to be reck­oned,” and Macmil­lan “ex­pressed an un­wa­ver­ing ded­i­ca­tion and com­mit­ment to the bet­ter­ment of his com­mu­nity.”

Macmil­lan’s legacy in Northum­ber­land County held many ac­com­plish­ments in­clud­ing sig­nif­i­cant im­prove­ments to lo­cal road and bridge in­fras­truc­ture, ad­vance­ments in paramedic first re­sponse, de­vel­op­ment of a Long Term Waste Man­age­ment Master Plan, in­clud­ing ex­pan­sion of Northum­ber­land’s re­cy­cling pro­gram, and mile­stones such as the de­vel­op­ment of a suc­cess­ful bid to host the first-ever in­ter-mu­nic­i­pal set of Paras­port Games.

Macmil­lan worked tire­lessly for his com­mu­nity and se­cur­ing a new river cross­ing in Camp­bell­ford.

“In ev­ery­thing that Coun­cil­lor Macmil­lan did, his con­stituents were his fore­most con­sid­er­a­tion, and the long-term progress and pros­per­ity of the Mu­nic­i­pal­ity of Trent Hills his ut­most de­sire. Even as his ill­ness pro­gressed, he re­mained stead­fast in ful­fill­ing the re­spon­si­bil­i­ties of of­fice, right up un­til his fi­nal days.”

“I can per­son­ally say that over all the years we served to­gether on Northum­ber­land County Coun­cil, I de­vel­oped sig­nif­i­cant re­spect for Coun­cil­lor Macmil­lan’s vig­i­lant pur­suit of pub­lic ser­vice,” said Walas.

“Even more than that, I val­ued his friend­ship. He was larger than life, he had enor­mous im­pact, and I know I speak for all of Coun­cil and staff when I say that he will be sin­cerely missed. I ex­tend my deep­est con­do­lences to Coun­cil­lor Macmil­lan’s fam­ily and friends, and to all of the res­i­dents of the Mu­nic­i­pal­ity of Trent Hills.”

Trent Hills Fire Chief Tim Blake is an­other per­son who un­der­stands the enor­mous con­tri­bu­tion Macmil­lan made to his com­mu­nity.

Blake said, some­thing that any­one who knew Macmil­lan would say, “he wasn’t your typ­i­cal politi­cian.”

“He did a lot of great things and he did them the right way. There was no beat­ing around the bush.”

The in­tegrity and pride Macmil­lan had for his com­mu­nity was un­wa­ver­ing. The de­ter­mi­na­tion he had in mak­ing things right was some­thing just as strong.

“If it was some­thing he felt was right, he did it and he stood by it. And he was man enough if he did make a mis­take to say it,” he said. “That’s what I ad­mired about him the most - he wasn’t a typ­i­cal po­lit­i­can.”

Blake said some­times as a politi­cian you have to make de­ci­sions that aren’t nec­es­sar­ily pop­u­lar.

“But he’d tell you why he voted that way or why we should take that path. Not very of­ten you get some­body like that.”

Macmil­lan and Blake had been work­ing to­gether since 2008 on the flood­ing along Green Acres and in the com­mu­nity of Trent Hills.

One long week­end, Blake said Macmil­lan took his fam­ily with him after there was a com­plaint about sand­bags.

“That’s just the kind of per­son he was - the whole fam­ily was in­volved.”

From a fire depart­ment per­spec­tive, Macmil­lan was a strong sup­porter of the depart­ment - lit­er­ally.

When the bridge in down­town was closed, he said “any­thing I can do to help, Chief.”

The fire depart­ment was di­vided up into two sta­tions at that time, with one be­ing on each side of the river.

Blake said they needed a driver for the res­cue unit.

With­out hes­i­ta­tion, Macmil­lan said he would gladly help out.

Macmil­lan was a wel­come sight for ma­jor fires as he would al­ways look after the fire­fight­ers.

“One time we had a barn fire and we were look­ing for food for the fire­men and ev­ery­thing in town was closed.”

Blake re­mem­bers at the time it was ex­tremely foggy out.

“I won­dered where the heck did he get too?”

“He ended up driv­ing to Peter­bor­ough to three dif­fer­ent places to get enough food to bring back.”

At one ma­jor fire, Blake got one of his fire­fight­ers to get re­fresh­ments at Tim Hor­tons. When Macmil­lan found out, Blake said he was gen­tly re­minded whose job that was, he said with a laugh.

“That’s my job,” he said to Blake in no un­cer­tain terms.

“He had a ra­dio and a pager and he was al­ways there - and we loved to have him.”

“It didn’t mat­ter what time it was the day or what was go­ing on, he’d be right there for the fire­fight­ers mak­ing sure they got what they needed.”

Blake said Macmil­lan grew up in the com­mu­nity, and his fa­ther was mayor at one point.

Macmil­lan later moved away for a pe­riod of time, but “he would al­ways come back home.” He would even­tu­ally own a bowl­ing al­ley.

“He helped a lot of peo­ple and he was very proud of that,” Blake said. “A lot of peo­ple called him and thanked him for his story and were plan­ning on go­ing to Ger­many. Or even to give them that ‘fight’ at­ti­tude. He was one of a kind. Never be an­other one like him. Cer­tainly not as unique as him and to be able to stay the course when you have a lot of peo­ple go­ing in other di­rec­tions.”

As news broke Tues­day, a mo­ment of si­lence was ob­served at the start of Tues­day’s com­mit­tee of the whole meet­ing in Hamil­ton Town­ship.It was a som­bre start to the ses­sion as Hamil­ton Town­ship Mayor Mark Lovshin said he knew coun­cil­lors, and the mu­nic­i­pal­ity, wanted top ass along their con­do­lences to the Macmil­lan fam­ily as well as to Trent Hills. Lovshin sat in county coun­cil with Macmil­lan for many years and heard, as did oth­ers in the coun­cil cham­bers, as the long-time politi­cian talked pub­li­cally about his per­sonal strug­gle and vic­to­ries with cancer, as well as the strug­gle and vic­to­ries lob­by­ing the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment to change the fi­nan­cial sys­tem through OHIP to help those like him­self fac­ing this deadly dis­ease.

MPP Lou Ri­naldi also weighed in Tues­day in a writ­ten state­ment: “It is with great sad­ness that I’ve learned of the pass­ing of my friend Hec­tor Macmil­lan. Hec­tor was al­ways a fighter, a cham­pion and a fierce ad­vo­cate for those he rep­re­sented.”

PETE FISHER/NORTHUM­BER­LAND TO­DAY FILE PHOTO

Trent Hills Mayor Hec Macmil­lan has died after a bat­tle with cancer. He's pic­tured here in a 2011 file photo taken in Camp­bell­ford.

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