When Ben Coiner isn’t working in the Department of Psychiatry, chances are he’s spending his free time volunteering with several organizations close to his heart, including BWH’s Post-Anesthesia Care Unit. In the early-morning hours before his day job, Coiner welcomes patients preparing for surgery and assists with nonclinical duties.
Outside of BWH, he’s a volunteer coach with the Association of Blind Citizens Boston Renegades, a local team of blind and visually impaired athletes who play an adaptive form of baseball called beep baseball. The “beep” refers to the different types of sounds played on the field to communicate the location of the ball; buzzing sounds alert players to run to various bases.
Despite his busy routine from BWH to the baseball field, Coiner says he wouldn’t change anything about it.
“Volunteering always brightens my day,” said Coiner, a technical research assistant who works at 221 Longwood Ave. “Whether I’m working or volunteering, I love helping others and doing what I can to bring joy into their lives.”
Rob Weissman, the head coach of the Boston Renegades and a BWH patient, describes Coiner as an “unbelievable asset” to the team, which will host the largest beep baseball tournament on the East Coast, July 8.
“Ben pours his heart and soul into everything he does, and that speaks a tremendous amount about his character,” Weissman said.
BWH Bulletin recently interviewed Coiner about his volunteer experiences.
When did you begin volunteering?
BC: Throughout college, I participated in a few volunteer events in local communities through involvement with the varsity baseball team, student council and existing service partnerships at the University of Chicago. These experiences introduced me to the value of volunteering, and when I moved to Boston for work, I knew I wanted to continue.
What do you love most about volunteering?
BC: I love the personal interactions and being able to help others. I am able to see how my contributions directly help others, and I have the opportunity to meet and work with diverse groups of people.
Why would you tell others to explore volunteer opportunities?
BC: Helping others brings with it so many unexpected benefits, both for oneself and those we are helping. Until I experienced it myself, I didn’t realize how much it would impact me. I would tell anyone interested in volunteering to take something they are passionate about and find a way to help others using that passion, just as I did with baseball.
How do you incorporate your volunteer work with the Boston Renegades into your work at BWH?
BC: I’ve learned to become a better communicator in my daily life. When I’m on the field coaching, I know I have to be very specific with my words and directions since I can’t visually show the players how to swing a bat, for example. Because of my work with the Boston Renegades, I am now very aware of how I explain different things to patients and my colleagues.