Paul Hames joined the Saanich Peninsula Hospital Foundation in 2005. He is now a well-seasoned Board Member but even back then, he was more than prepared for the role. A hard-working traveller with a giving heart, Paul’s entire life has been built upon the importance of community.
Born in Montreal, Paul attended primary school in Calgary and eventually graduated in Brampton, Ontario. Upon completion of secondary school Paul knew exactly what he wanted to do: join the RCMP. It was something he had always dreamed of but at the time, the acceptance age for the force was nineteen and Paul was only eighteen. With a year to wait, Paul made his application and travelled in Europe for several months. Young and eager, he arrived in Regina on the day of his birthday to commence the rigorous RCMP training process.
Life in the RCMP was perhaps more structured than he had anticipated but he soon adapted to the routine. Upon graduation he stayed in Regina to be part of a group featured in an RCMP recruitment movie. Afterward Paul was posted to beautiful Lake Louise and the movie team followed him there to film the different experiences an officer would encounter. Paul continued his career in and around Alberta but after being promoted to Inspector he was transferred to headquarters in Ottawa. It was there, tasked with implementing a new alternative dispute resolution program, that he found his niche. He was interested in conflict management, team building, and the importance of dealing with grievances and discipline within the RCMP in a positive way. His position in headquarters also gave him the opportunity to study, travel, and work with other organizations. Armed with a Bachelor of Arts in Criminology from the University of Alberta, Paul found that these times abroad killed two birds with one stone; he had both the opportunity to learn and the chance to teach.
Down the road Paul decided to go back to school and obtain his Master’s Degree in Leadership and Training from Royal Roads University. While attending courses, Paul put in an application for Chief of Central Saanich Police and shortly thereafter was offered the position! His family relocated to the Island and Paul worked for Central Saanich for 16 terrific years until his retirement in 2015. He loved his job but wanted to give more time to his volunteer work and family of two sons, a daughter and five grandchildren.
Today, Paul still loves to travel. One of his sons is a pilot for Cathay Pacific and lives in Hong Kong where Paul has travelled to see him. He and his wife Barb also love to visit Hawaii each year. There he paddleboards and surfs to pass the time. When reflecting on why he loves travelling, Paul concludes that it is because through travel he has learned so much. For example, during his tenure in the RCMP, he spent time in South Africa. It was only about ten years after the end of apartheid and through speaking with several young police officers, Paul learned that back then the police did as they were told, not as they wished they could do. They knew some of their actions were wrong but they worked under fear of death and retribution on family members. Hearing from these officers was an extremely moving moment for him and still sticks with him to this day.
Paul’s reasons for supporting the Saanich Peninsula Hospital Foundation are the same given by many. It was a wonderful place for Barb’s mother when she was in Palliative Care and it doesn’t feel like a hospital because everybody is so pleasant and welcoming. He has also observed the pride that donors feel in regards to advancements in the hospital. He recently attended the opening event for the new CT scanner and at the celebration he noted that donors were truly happy that they had helped fund the purchase of leading edge medical equipment.
Paul continues to serve on the Saanich Peninsula Hospital Foundation Board because he wants to continue to give to the community. Throughout his life, team building and community relations have been strong influences. He has had so many outstanding opportunities in his own life that he feels a keen need to give back for the betterment of the people around him. Supported in all he does by Barb and his children, Paul recognizes the privilege that their support provides him and wants to ensure the same for others.
By Barbara Harwood