It's one thing to hear praise being heaped on someone you've never met, but it's not until you interact with this person that you can truly measure their character and motives.
Even those with a mediocre judgment of character can sense if someone is genuinely kind, caring and compassionate. Those are hard traits to counterfeit, especially over any length of time.
Those attending a unique ceremony and birthday celebration in Carbonear last week got to see first-hand the true essence of a man who is both respected and revered among many of a certain vintage in the Trinity Conception region.
We're talking about Dr. Leslie A. Wells, an Irishman who spent practically his entire medical career performing surgeries on patients at the hospital in Carbonear. He retired more than two decades ago, and now lives in St. John's, close to his two sons, a daughter and four grandchildren.
Dr. Wells and his family donated an elaborate sundial to the town on the same day he marked his 87th birthday. True to form, the good doctor was amazingly spirited, witty and robust. In short, the picture of health, no doubt the result of a strong commitment to his own health over the decades.
Dr. Wells, along with his Scottish wife Christina, came to this region more than a half-century ago. He had difficulty landing any meaningful work in his homeland, where surgeons were in great supply at the time, and chose Carbonear over other destinations, including Australia and New Zealand.
They decided less than a year into their stint in Carbonear that they would make it their home, and that they did, in many ways. Dr. Wells became a workhorse at the hospital, performing all sorts of surgeries, and the couple raised their family in the town. All three have gone on to launch successful careers of their own.
His reputation as a caring, hard working and passionate doctor is as strong today in many circles as it ever was, and that was evident last week when one former patient, Viola Clarke, described Dr. Wells as a "wonderful man" who did so much for the area and "we all loved him."
We also learned last week that Dr. Wells will be the patron for the 2012 Newfoundland and Labrador Summer Games, which will be co-hosted by the towns of Carbonear and Harbour Grace from Aug. 18-25.
Though he left Carbonear a long time ago, the region and its people still hold a place dear in his heart. He proved that last week with his very unique donation to the town, which was his way of saying thanks for the outstanding treatment he received during his working career. The sundial will no doubt attract tourists and serve as a scientific teaching tool long into the future, and is a fitting and unique gesture from a man who deserves all the admiration and gratitude we can muster.
— Terry Roberts