DC’s Director of Campus Safety eases pandemic stress through puzzles, music

Tom Lynch has been the director of Campus Safety at Durham College since 2012. Photo credit: Durham College Database

Durham College’s (DC) Director Of Campus Safety, Tom Lynch, has found ways to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic through new hobbies and old passions.

One new hobby is doing puzzles with his wife, including a 1,000-piece Mona Lisa puzzle. He is currently doing two different puzzles, the Beatles and a wolf.

These new hobbies and passions have helped Lynch deal with the uncertainty of the pandemic.

One of Lynch’s other passions is music. He’s had a Yamaha FG-180 since he was 16, when he started doing music lessons.

According to Lynch, puzzles have become a sort of escape for him and his wife.

“I’ve been on a bit of a tear doing puzzles. I’ve never done puzzles in my life and last Christmas my wife got this big 1,000-piece puzzle her and my son were doing it and I walked by one day and kind of stood there and you know what? The old habit, you start looking at the pieces, and the next thing you know you’ve snapped a couple in, and then well, I think the Amazon driver can probably drive to my house with his eyes closed now because as I’m finishing one I’m ordering my next one,” he said.

However, Lynch’s life doesn’t just involve music and puzzles – he’s also in charge of the entire security force at DC.

His routine has not changed too much during the pandemic.

His job doesn’t allow him to work from home. As a result, he can be found on campus daily.

The response of people coming to the Durham College campus under the new COVID-19 restrictions has been positive, according to Lynch.

“You know what? I would say, overall, you know, there’s been a great deal of cooperation across the board from both students, employees, and faculty,” Lynch said.

Lynch also put DC’s handling of the pandemic in perspective.

“There isn’t a playbook, you know? This is new to everybody. In emergency management, if you live in a tornado zone, or something like that, you know, you can pick up books and read, what’s the best thing to do? And how do you deal with preparing for tonight? What do you do during a tornado? And what do you do after a tornado? There’s books, there’s playbooks, and the job of the people in that area is to understand those and activate them. As soon as it happens, COVID, there was no playbook,” he said.

He’s hoping when the pandemic eventually ends people will look at how the world dealt with COVID-19 and hopefully learn from it.

He understands some people coming to campus will have objections to the restrictions but he wants to remind them of the education they’re getting and what it means for their future.

However, it’s not all negative for Lynch.

His wife has been busy planning for an eventual trip.

“I leave that up to my wife. My wife’s in charge of travel. And I know that she’s been looking at certain things. She made an announcement that we could go to Calgary or somewhere like that, hey, WestJet’s flying out to Calgary for 59 bucks right now. I imagine that we will travel when this is all over,” he said.

In the meantime, Lynch has become a puzzling machine, and he knows it.

“I think you’re addicted, right?” his wife said.

“Yeah, I think I am,” he said.