As long as he can remember, Robert Hinton has wanted to be part of a group that gives back. Together with every employer and on his own, he has found a way to support local organizations with his time, talents and treasures.
So when he went to work for Navy Federal Credit Union, it was a perfect fit. In the summer of 2015, Robert and his coworkers were brainstorming a team-building event with a purpose.
The more they talked about it, the more they discovered they wanted to do something for children. A high school friend led Robert to the Studer Family Children’s Hospital at Sacred Heart, and the rest is history.
Going into their first visit, the team was a little nervous how they would react to seeing sick or injured children. But from the moment they arrived, they realized what a big impact they could have on a child’s day.
“We saw that for a little bit of time, we could distract them from what they had going on,” Robert says. “As we walked out that day, we knew it was something we were interested in doing long term.”
Known as Team Hinton, they have been visiting the Children’s Hospital ever since. They’ve organized movie days and crafts, superhero visits, holiday gifts and more. They stage an annual egg hunt, sending one lucky volunteer in an Easter Bunny suit that puts a smile on everybody’s face.
They’ve even given the hospital a car – Power Wheels, that is. When Team Hinton learned of the battery-powered vehicles that transport kids to their procedures and surgeries, they immediately set a goal to purchase one in a month’s time. (They raised the money in 9 days.)
“I remember being able to drop it off, and seeing a picture of a child with her sign on it that said ‘goodbye’,” Robert says. “Going to her last chemo treatment, she was looking back and smiling. That’s how you know you’ve really done good.”
According to Robert, making a difference starts from Day One at Navy Federal – it’s a featured topic at New Employee Orientation.
“We are very blessed to work for an organization where they not only allow us the time, but they encourage us,” he says. “It’s easy to be inspired to do these things when you’re surrounded by folks who are truly excited to go out and help the kids.”
He would tell anyone he meets to give volunteering a try.
“From the minute you walk away from a visit, you have a different feeling about yourself,” Robert says. “It gives you that sense of pride or accomplishment that you’ve really helped someone who needed some help that day.”