Cavell Hines of Stephenville recalls helping a stranded couple on 9-11

Published on September 10, 2017

Cavell Hines was one of the few people in Western Newfoundland whose husband and her took a couple into her family home in the aftermath of the 9-11 attacks in the United States.

©Frank Gale/The Western Star

“Send them up.”

That was the answer, with no hesitation, when Cavell Hines received a call at 3 a.m. on Sept. 12, 2001 asking would she and husband Ken take in a stranded couple from the United States.

“Get up Ken, you got to clean the toilet, we got company coming,” was her next words after thinking about what to do.

The previous day Hines had been at work at Child, Youth and Family Services from where she could see the eight planes coming in that were directed to land at Stephenville airport on 9-11.

The thoughts of that night always come back when the anniversary of 9-11 nears.

She remembers the Emergency Measures Team getting together and everyone scrabbling to see what they could do. While she wasn’t part of the team, her biggest concern was whether the children could get off the planes and what could be done for them.

However, not being in the circle of what was going on Hines went home from work and she and Ken eventually settled in after watching coverage of the events in the United States on television.

Her co-worker Barbara Cull, who was at Dreamcatcher Lodge getting some people from the planes situated for the night, was the person who made the early morning call.

Some families had to go with two couples in a room and when all was said and done, there was a couple sitting in the lobby of the hotel in a chair. When Cull talked to them they indicated they weren’t comfortable in a room with anyone else because the woman wasn’t feeling well.

Hines chuckles as she’s tells that while Ken was busy cleaning up in the bathroom, she took advantage of the time to fix her hair and makeup.

When the couple, Beth and William Regan from Mobile, Alabama, arrived at 4 a.m. in a taxi they met them at the door and sat down and chatted well into the daylight hours.

It was during the conversation that Hines learned of Regan going through cancer treatments.

“I guess she felt comfortable when I said I know what you’re going through and told her I’m a cancer survivor,” she said.

Hines said Ken and William, a businessman, hit it off well too talking about the types of things they liked to do.

When they got up later the same day, Hines said they took them for a tour of the Port au Port Peninsula and showed them around, then returned home where she made them a moose dinner, which they thoroughly enjoyed.

She said they connected because of their cancer and at the time talked of how life is so fragile and how things can happen so quickly.

“The click of a finger and you can meet such nice people by just opening up your heart,” Hines said.

The Regan’s appreciation was later stated in a letter to the Hines dated Dec. 3, 2001.