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BGH volunteer takes part-time job and donates earnings to help patients

There are some people in this world who just love to give. They give their time, they give their talents, they give their money. Their life pursuit is to make things better. Paul Reesor is one of those people.

After retiring from a career at Toronto Hydro, Paul and his wife, Eileen, moved to Belleville. They quickly joined the Belleville General Hospital Auxiliary and became two very dedicated and dependable volunteers, working in multiple areas of the hospital.

Paul spent some time volunteering on the Behavioural Supports Transition Unit (BSTU), which specializes in enhancing the lives of older adults living with dementia or age related cognitive impairments and behavioural challenges.

“Paul is a super nice, positive guy who always wants to learn more about dementia,” said Jay Moxness, Recreation Therapist and Volunteer Specialist. “He learned that sensory stimulation has many benefits for people with dementia, including decreased anxiety, improved concentration, increased alertness and improved mood.”

Knowing the importance of sensory stimulation, Paul wanted to do something to contribute to the well-being of the patients on the BSTU, while also contributing to other important causes in the community. He took a leave from his various volunteer roles at the hospital and took a job at Lowe’s last summer. Everything he earned, he planned to donate.

“Only a few people knew about my secret initiative so I could focus on job training in the paint department and do the job right,” said Paul. “I’d self-motivate at the beginning of each shift by telling myself how many people my special gift would help.”

At the end of the summer, Paul donated $2,000 to the Belleville General Hospital Foundation to be put towards sensory items on the BSTU. Lowe’s kindly donated paint so that a room could be painted to house the equipment.

The BSTU was able to purchase a projector to play visually stimulating programs like African safaris, West Coast train trips and musical performances. They also invested in fiber-optic twinkle light strands for patients to fiddle with, puzzles, aromatherapy, and textured items like pumice stones.

“It’s beneficial for the patients to use each of their senses,” said Rebecca Spencer, Recreation Therapist. “We also purchased a doll and a simulated companion pet, which some patients just love to hold. It calms them and improves their feeling of well-being.”

“We’re very grateful to Paul for his generous donation,” said Jay. “These items really make a difference for our patients.”

Paul also donated $2,000 to the Salvation Army Kettle Campaign and $1,500 to the Belleville Professional Fire Fighters Toy Drive, where he also volunteers.

When asked why he decided to take a job and donate all of his earnings, Paul said, “There’s not a defined reason why I took on this challenge but when it helps people and comes from the heart, you know you’re doing the right thing.”

Paul Reesor, Rebecca Spencer and Paulette Jamieson painting a room
Getting ready to paint! From left: Paul Reesor, Volunteer; Rebecca Spencer, Recreation
Therapist; and Paulette Jamieson, Volunteer. Picture was taken before the pandemic - 
no masks required.
Some of the sensory items on display in the newly painted room.