York Region paramedic Sandra Hynds lives by what her parents often told her growing up. “Rich or poor, you always have time to donate,” she says.
Her job experience is woven through the fabric of her community engagement. “My work exposes me to a lot of people in the community” says Hynds, who is a CUPE 905 member. “And my experience as a paramedic gives me a better understanding of the crises people can be in.”
Hynds is active with her 11-year-old daughter’s hockey team, working as a trainer. She also volunteers with the Tema Conter Memorial Trust, an organization that helps paramedics and other emergency services workers deal with the physical, psychological and emotional stresses of their job.
As a trainer, Hynds is behind the bench during her daughter’s games – ready for any injuries, as well as helping the girls with their equipment. “You need a trainer to make the game go,” says Hynds.
“I can use my skills as a paramedic to be a good trainer to my daughter’s team – my heightened awareness of emergencies, my calmness, and first aid skills,” she says.
Supporting the team is a family affair, with Hynds’ husband helping coach the team.
Hynds also helps with education and fundraising at the Tema Conter trust. She says it’s important to support the members of her work family, and overcome the stigma of needing help.
“It’s really about it being okay to come forward,” she says. “That’s the organization’s motto – heroes are humans too.”
Paramedics and other front-line emergency services workers deal with trauma and crisis every day, and need to be able to lean on their peers for support. “It’s something you can’t go through your whole career without possibly needing,” says Hynds.
Hynds has been a paramedic for 21 years, and she finds some of her most rewarding moments in helping patients. “Yes, I save lives, but every day I positively impact someone just by helping them and reassuring them while they go through the medical process,” says Hynds.
Over the years, Hynds has always made time for her community, whether it’s the local Meals on Wheels program, or volunteering with the neighbourhood victim services program. “I volunteer because I believe I’m part of the community. It’s my time, and that matters.”
On June 23, CUPE is relaunching Communities Day. It’s an annual celebration of public services and the people who deliver them.
This year has a special focus on CUPE members as community builders. We’ll be profiling the vital role members play — on the job and in their spare time—building strong communities. Get involved in Communities Day by visiting cupe.ca/communities.
We’re offering a CUPE sweatshirt to the first ten members who are profiled!