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Published on July 12, 2022

Security Officer at Night, ‘Dream’ Volunteer by DayCape Cod Healthcare Employee volunteers for Dream Day Cape Cod

Paul Hines fosters a team atmosphere both as an overnight security officer at Cape Cod Hospital and as a volunteer at a nonprofit organization called Dream Day on Cape Cod—a camp that provides a fun and supportive getaway for kids facing life-threatening illnesses. The Cape Cod Healthcare Foundation recently awarded Dream Day a $5,000 mini grant to help pay for their 2022 Covid Safety Program, which includes includes testing kits, cleaning supplies and extra staff hours. 

Working the Night Shift

When Paul Hines first considered working as an overnight security officer at Cape Cod Hospital, he assumed it would entail patient and staff safety, patrolling hospital buildings and grounds and monitoring video cameras. But as he went through training, Hines realized the job involved so much more—responding to constant Code S calls (Behavioral Intervention), making trips to the morgue, documenting every incident and wand and search procedures.

He describes working midnight to 8 a.m. as an eye-opening experience­—especially since he started his job just days before COVID shut down the world. “It was obviously a difficult time to start because not having gone through a crisis like this before, policies changed daily at the hospital and I had to quickly adapt to learn how to safely handle patient visitation in addition to learning my usual duties.”

Since Hines has worked in the restaurant business most of his life, he is accustomed to working an unconventional schedule. “But you never get used to working nights. I got home this morning, took a two-hour nap and then picked up my girls from school,” says Hines, who also works in real estate during the day. But there are bright spots: He gets to spend days with his daughters, ages 9 and 10, and be “a regular dad.”

Kind, Compassionate and Caring Approach

Hines calls himself an unofficial ambassador stationed at the main entrance to Cape Cod Hospital. He tries to brighten the mood daily for patients, visitors and fellow employees. “When I open the main lobby in the morning, I become the ‘Wal-Mart greeter’ and try to lighten the stress for the patients coming in by asking what they are here for, touch upon the weather or discuss the Patriots’ outcome. I also try to say my hellos and goodbyes to all the staff members who are starting their day or getting over a long night.”

Hines admits even his bedside manners have improved since he started two years ago. He often stands by to help doctors and nurses with challenging patients, and he observes their compassion and care. During his shift, he often responds to Code S calls in Mugar, which usually means an elderly patient is confused as to why they are in a hospital room and often want to go home.

“One night, I was with the RN supervisor and a patient was upset because he had no money to keep his house and buy food for himself, and he wanted to leave,” says Hines, adding part of his job includes sitting and talking with patients to help calm them or even make them laugh a little. “I went back to the office, and using my real estate background, I printed out information from housing assistance, the food pantry and local contacts who could help him out. After watching the nurses and doctors help save these people, it feels good to help out a little, too.”

Making Dreams Come True on Cape Cod

The father of two young girls brings this same level of care, compassion and willingness to help young people at Dream Day on Cape Cod, where he serves on the Board of Directors. Dream Day is a nonprofit organization based in Brewster that provides a week of respite for children with severe, life-threatening diseases and their families—at no cost to them. The 31-acre camp, which features eight modern cabins, is located at the edge of Nickerson State Park. The camp runs eight weeks, from the third week of June until the second week of August, and provides 64 families each summer with a week’s vacation, which includes daily activities, from fishing and swimming to kayaking and canoeing. It’s full every year and there is typically a wait list. New this year: Local families may choose a day-camp option instead of staying overnight. Many of the families are from the New England area.

“The best part of volunteering for Dream Day is that feeling you get helping to bring a ray of sunshine into the lives of a child facing a life-threatening situation along with their family,” says Hines, who also organizes an annual golf tournament and fundraiser at Cummaquid Golf Course in October. “Many of them spend so much time in hospitals and at doctors’ visits, they don’t get the opportunity to go on vacations. At the camp, all the kids and families are going through similar situations, so it is a place where they can come and make new friends and create cherished family memories.”

The Cape Cod Healthcare Foundation recently awarded the organization a $5,000 mini grant to help pay for their 2022 Covid Safety Program, which includes testing kits, extra staff hours, cleaning supplies, masks and gloves. “We are so grateful for this grant,” says Tracey Sperry, executive director of Dream Day on Cape Cod. “It will make such a difference in helping us keep our already fragile community safer to spend time at camp this summer," says Sperry. "We couldn’t run this camp without the support of the Cape Cod community and places like Cape Cod Healthcare."

Even Hines’ daughters, Lauren and Grace, volunteer their time by visiting the camps and help raise money for the organization.

“People always ask why I did so much for Dream Day over the years, considering I was a single guy with no kids when I first became involved with the organization more than 20 years ago,” says Hines. “After you are exposed to something as amazing as Dream Day, it gives you a different perspective on what is important in life. Now being a dad and watching these kids for years playing and having fun without a care in the world, and occasionally we would get sad news of the loss of a child, it teaches you how fragile life is. That makes me appreciate so much more the blessing of being a father and shows me how lucky I am!”

For more information on Dream Day on Cape Cod, visit dreamdayoncapecod.org

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