Driscoll volunteer chosen from 1,500 for statewide award

Richard ‘Dick’ Hinman has brought smiles to children for 18 years

CORPUS CHRISTI – When it comes to receiving awards for exceptional service as a volunteer, Richard “Dick” Hinman thinks there’s one person who doesn’t deserve one: himself. Despite his belief, Hinman, a volunteer at Driscoll Children’s Hospital, has been chosen from about 1,500 nominees as the first statewide recipient of the Home Instead Senior Care’s Salute to Senior Service Award. The award will be presented to him at 9:30 a.m. Thursday in Driscoll’s cardiology conference room.

“I’m flattered, but we have an awful lot of volunteers here who are more deserving than I am,” said Hinman, 81, who has been a member of the Auxiliary to Driscoll Children’s Hospital since 1994.

Hinman was first chosen as the winner of Home Instead’s local award and just recently learned that he is the statewide winner. The organization’s Salute to Senior Service Award program is designed to recognize retired senior volunteers who make a difference every day in their communities.

“These unsung heroes are making a bigger impact than ever as local budgets evaporate and community needs escalate,” said Dr. M. Retta Martin of Home Instead Senior Care in Corpus Christi, who helped select Hinman for the award. “Dick’s longevity as a volunteer made him stand out, as did the fact that he almost does it full time. We know that without volunteers, many organizations couldn’t do what they do.”

Hinman said with a laugh that he may cut back his volunteer hours to 25 or 30 hours a week. In total, he has given more than 29,000 hours of volunteer service at Driscoll – equaling more than 1,600 hours a year.

But the retired petrochemical worker and engineering specialist is having too much fun. He maintains an infectious smile at Driscoll Children’s Hospital and is known for cheering up patients with stories, antics and magic tricks.

“I’ve been told I’m in my second childhood,” Hinman said. “But I don’t think I ever left my first childhood. I’m just a big kid.”

While the services of all of Driscoll’s volunteers are equally appreciated and valued, Hinman’s rapport with children is something special, said Lizette Saenz, director of Volunteer Services.

“Dick is deserving of the Salute to Senior Service Award for so many reasons. He makes the hospital experience pleasant and sometimes even fun for the children he encounters. At the same time, he genuinely cares about the patients and respects them and their families.”

With characteristic humility, Hinman said the smile of a child is the only reward he needs for his 18 years of service at Driscoll Children’s Hospital.

“When a parent says to me, ‘That’s the first time my son or daughter has smiled in a long time,’ that’s a pretty big paycheck.”

What: Home Instead Senior Care’s Salute to Senior Service Award presentation for Richard “Dick” Hinman
When: 9:30 a.m. Thursday, June 14
Where: Driscoll Children’s Hospital, cardiology conference room, 2nd floor, 3533 S. Alameda St.