For the love of volunteering

Joe Savoy, Theresa (Johnson) MacIntyre and Charlie MacIntyre at the Cape Breton Regional Hospital's greeter desk where Charlie met Theresa. Joe and Charlie are both volunteer greeters at the hospital.

When Charlie MacIntyre began volunteering as a greeter at the Cape Breton Regional Hospital 12 years ago, he knew he’d meet many people, but little did he know his wife would be one of them.

One winter day in 2018, Charlie was at the greeter desk with his friend Joe Savoy. The two had become good friends when they were paired together on the desk two years earlier. That day, Theresa Johnson came to the hospital for blood work. Walking in, she saw Joe, who was her friend’s brother, and stopped for a quick chat. After a chat and an introduction to Charlie, Theresa was on her way and Charlie was smitten. 

“When they were talking, Joe made a remark and the way she laughed,” said Charlie. “There was something about her, I had to ask her out.”

With a little help and encouragement from Joe, Charlie invited Theresa to a dance. She accepted. That date led to more dates as the two got to know each other. Both had lost spouses-Charlie’s wife died two years earlier and Theresa’s husband died 22 years earlier. They loved water, nature and dogs. Both shared a deep faith. 

By the end of February, Charlie and Theresa decided to get married. He was 81 and she was 75. 

“I asked her if she wanted a ring and she said that would be nice,” quipped Charlie. “We figured we shouldn’t waste time-we’re seniors. We could only have a few days or months left.” 

All joking aside, Charlie said that having lost their spouses, they understood and shared loneliness.

“We’re not meant to be alone,” he said. “We all want to be part of something to have someone to share your problems with and your joys with and we all need someone to look after.” 

They set the date for June 9 at Sacred Heart Parish in Johnstown about 60 kilometres from Sydney. With about 30 family members and friends looking on, Charlie and Theresa were married. Joe served as best man. 

“It was lovely,” said Theresa. “Surrounded by so many lovely people, I’ve never felt as at home and peaceful.”

After the ceremony and luncheon at the nearby parish hall, the couple set out on the “shortest honeymoon on record” said Charlie, “as we had to go back to the church and serve at four o’clock mass that afternoon.” Their real honeymoon took place a month later at the Nova Scotia Tattoo. 

A year after their wedding, Charlie and Theresa still look at each other like newlyweds.

Theresa loves her husband’s “generosity, kindness, blue eyes and smile.” Charlie loves that his wife “is full of personality, can laugh at a problem, has a great attitude and is a lovely person to be with.”

When Charlie and Theresa are asked, “why get married at your age?” Charlie is quick to respond. 

“It’s the only age I have. It’s about the quality of time-what you do with your age and years. It’s not over until it’s over.” 

As for their best man Joe, he’s glad that he was able to help bring Charlie and Theresa together but he rules out becoming a professional matchmaker.

“They are a great match,” he said. “They are both nice, good people who care about helping others. They look after one another and make each other happy. How do you top that?”