By Taylor Provost
“I believe the reason my dad is so liked is because he loves people, and is actively showing that every day,” Olivet freshman Paul DaSilva Jr. said of his father, Paul DaSilva Sr.
DaSilva Sr., a Brazilian man now residing in Bourbonnais, currently works as an officer for Olivet’s Department of Public Safety. He was hired in August 2013. Showing kindness to others through his job is not a new concept to DaSilva. Having previously worked various jobs, one being in Public Safety at a hospital in Oak Lawn, Ill., and another in the Laundry Department at Bradley Bourbonnais Community High School, he has come to know many people over the years.
“Paul DaSilva is one of the nicest men I have had a chance to meet,” Emily Wilcox, a College Church North Campus member, said. “Within five minutes of knowing him you can tell he is a man after God’s heart. He is really interested in everyone and tries really hard to make them feel special, whether it is writing encouraging messages on Facebook or telling them God is with them,”
DaSilva is known among his Facebook friends for random posts of encouragement. DaSilva ends nearly every encouraging post or comment to a Facebook friend with the phrase, “YOU are loved!”
“He will go out of his way to help someone that is in need and we do not see that much in our world,” DaSilva Jr. added. “Whether it is [as] a public safety officer or not, [helping others] is just not something common in our times.”
DaSilva doesn’t see taking his job above and beyond as “going out of his way” though; he thoroughly enjoys it, he said.
“It has been a blessing,” he said. “I’ve taken [students] from ONU to the airport. Another time a student was sick and he needed a ride and I took him to Riverside Hospital and waited for him while he got some tests done,” DaSilva said, recalling a few times he has done things for his students outside of his job description.
None of his favors for others, big or small, have been done with a begrudging spirit. In fact, some of DaSilva’s favorite parts of being a Public Safety officer have been simply jump-starting students’ cars, unlocking their cars when they have accidentally locked their keys inside, or giving rides to injured students.
“I really enjoy the kids and I try to support them,” he said.
DaSilva takes an interest in Olivet’s students even when off-campus. He and his wife participate in a program offered through College Church called Adopt-A-Student. This program allows members of the church to open their home to and engage with a few select Olivet students who also attend College Church and choose to participate in the program.
He explained how well he and his wife get along with their “adopted” students.
“I was getting ready to go to work and I looked out through my window and saw the truck for Edible Arrangements,” DaSilva chuckled as
he recalled the time their “adopted” students sent him and his wife food. “They didn’t have to do that. They’re so sweet.”
DaSilva doesn’t care about the students simply because he is a Public Safety officer; he is a Public Safety officer because he simply cares about the students.
“It has been a blessing,” he said. “Whatever [students] need; I really, really enjoy it.”