He had the opportunity to come north to the Peace River Country in the summer of 1936 with Dr. Stevens, to do a TB survey. This proved a real challenge as while en route to High Prairie they had to load their car on a scow and float it down the highway, as this was the tail end of a great flood. While doing this survey the only way to get to Grouard was to board a boat at the location of Big Meadow Hall and proceed, via boat and paddles. At this time he thought he’d never return to this “God forsaken country”. However, it was a challenge he couldn’t resist, so in October 1937 Dr. Woods and his Medical Degree returned to set up a practice in High Prairie.
The hospital at that time had two sisters in charge. Sister Teresina and Sister Denise Marguerite and no Doctor, so he had to buckle right in. Phone services were new and poor. There were twenty-five subscribers on a party line covering the entire area from Driftpile, Joussard, Grouard, Enilda and High Prairie, and every ring registered in every home. I know, as I was a member of this party line at this time too. Dr. Wood’s ring was three long and one short and the hospital was two longs and three short and these along with the Police number seemed to ring all night long.
Dr. Wood was very active in promoting further planning for future hospital needs and helped plan an addition to the hospitals’ ten beds. By 1940 construction began on an addition to bring capacity to forty-six beds. He married Hazel Morden on August 4, 1941. Those years there were always the problems of muddy roads, and snowdrifts in winter as no roads were plowed. Somehow, he was always available when called.
J.B.T. Wood was Scout Master of High Prairie Scouts till somebody burned down the barn, which had been renovated for a scout hall. He was chairman of the first large school division and promoted the building of centralized school in High Prairie along with other centres in the division.
About 1948 he built his own Clinic to try and encourage other Doctors to come and work with him and also decided to enter politics. He ran as a Social Credit Candidate and won Grouard Constituency easily. However he wasn’t happy with things done in Government and in February 1951 turned in his resignation.
In 1952 he was awarded a life membership in the Alumni Association of the University of Alberta. He had a one-year leave in 1954 to do post-graduate study. He left his medical practice in 1960 to accept the position of Director of Medical Health Services with the Department of Health in Edmonton. He resigned this position in 1962 and again returned to High Prairie, his people and a new seventy-two-bed hospital which was opening up.
At a convention September 24, 1969 he was elected President of the Alberta Medical Association.
In February 1973 two hundred and fifty people gathered in the banquet room of the Northern Lites Motor Inn to honour this fine gentleman. They called it “Appreciation Night” for a man who had spent thirty-six years devoting himself to caring for the sick and injured as well as to promoting high ideals in all community services in the Lesser Slave Lake District. He is still very active and at present has been instrumental in all phases of progress of the hospital complex now on the drawing boards.
Over the years about fifty Doctors have come and gone, but Dr. Wood still remains a staunch member of the community. As part of the tribute paid him on this occasion the Gamelin Nursing Home was renamed the “J.B.T. Wood Nursing Home”.
The community also presented him with a carved leather clock which is a rare piece of handiwork, as well as a silver tray and some amusing plaques.