TRENTON – It's normally quiet at the Air Force Museum at CFB Trenton, with the occasional tourist browsing the various displays.
It's here that Andy Anderson, a local veteran and current President of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 99 in Belleville, spends his free time volunteering as a tour guide.
For him, he feels right at home among the various displays and exhibits.
His military career began in 1946, after living on a farm in southern Saskatchewan, saying he was looking to escape the farm life. He would enlist and begin his training at CFB Bordon.
"I got tired of watching the crops get destroyed by hail, drought, grasshoppers," he said. "I figured this is not the way to do it so I joined the Air Force,"
His enlistment saw him take basic aircraft courses and after starting off as a ground technician, he became a flight engineer by 1951, in which he would accompany a flight crew to do maintenance and repairs while in the air.
One of his roles for nine years was search and rescue based in Sea Island, Vancouver. He described one mission where the crew was looking for a crashed aircraft in the West Coast.
"There was a fishing trotter that ran aground on the West Coast," he said. "We had no idea where it was, and when we spotted the wreckage, we couldn't land beside it,"
"We had to land on the far side of the island because the waves were too big and would of destroyed the aircraft," he said.
Anderson said that he and the pilot would depart the aircraft to cross the island, finding the survivors of the wreckage, and fixing up a rowboat that the crew of the ship used to return back to the aircraft.
It was during his time in the military that he would meet his wife, whom Anderson said first met shortly after enlisting into basic training.
"It was a blind date, and I made a good impression; we went to church and I fell asleep on her," he said.
The two would end up marrying in 1949 and would raise two children, a son and a daughter, though Anderson said that because of his line of work, he was often away from his family for extended periods of time.
His career would soon come to an end after being discharged in 1977. Being discharged at CFB Trenton, he decided to retire in the area.
While Anderson said he initially missed his service, he soon took the skills he learned and applied them to other areas.
"I started working with Sears for a few years, going out to homes and doing estimates on furnaces, heat pumps, windows and doors," he said.
He would soon quit his job at Sears, and would begin to travel alongside his wife. Around that time she would become ill, and Anderson said he would spend the last 12 years of her life taking care of her, and staying with her to keep her company.
She would end up passing away in 2008, and by that time, Anderson said he would become more involved with the local Legion in Belleville.
"I first became involved with the colour parties," he said. "Then I became Sergent-At-Arms,"
"Shortly after this I became President for the first three years, but the President that took over, his wife took ill and I was re-elected as President," he said.
When asked to reflect on his life, especially around his service in the Air Force, Anderson said he would do it all over again in a heartbeat.
"I was quite happy doing exactly what I did," he said. "I had a good job, it was a career that I enjoyed every moment of,"