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When an emergency room is busy, a security guard steps in to help

Al Beard wins STAR service award for going above and beyond
Jibreel Harris, Scott Burnette, Tim Grosskopf, Al Beard, Archie McCartney, Todd Howell Jibreel Harris, Scott Burnette, Tim Grosskopf, Al Beard, Archie McCartney, Todd Howell

Despite COVID-19 cases declining in the region, hospitals remain full and emergency rooms are overloaded. When this happens, staff step in and help wherever possible. One security guard at VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital (VCU Health CMH) has gone above and beyond his job duties on numerous occasions to assist during the past couple months, capturing the attention of the emergency department nurse manager and security leadership.

Security Guard Al Beard won the October Team Member of the Month award for STAR service. STAR stands for Safety, Teamwork, Accountability and Relationships.

Al isn’t one to sit back and watch. He is the first to arrive and never hesitates to jump into action. While working the night shift, Al assisted emergency department staff in cleaning non-COVID treatment rooms between patients, answering patient call bells for non-clinical needs, transporting patients and filling in at the secretary's desk.

"During patient interactions, he provides them with whatever they need to keep them comfortable and treats everyone with respect," ED Nurse Manager Tammy Mull said.

"Twice we had to call Al in on his time off to respond to urgent needs for additional security and he responded within an hour or two," Security Supervisor Tim Grosskopf added. "Al performs his duties in an outstanding manner. It does not matter what the need is. Al is willing to stop what he is doing and help take care of any need. He has become a tremendous asset to the security department and VCU Health CMH."

Al also volunteers a few hours a week at the Clarksville Volunteer Fire Department. He is CPR-certified and uses that skill frequently at the hospital when he responds to hospital emergencies.

"I have a love for people and a soft heart for hospital work," Al explained. "We have some amazing, special nurses in the emergency department. If I can help save them some time by doing non-clinical work, I'll do it. It's not about a paycheck for me. I believe in our mission to provide excellence in the delivery of health care."

Al practices what he preaches. When he trains new security guards, he teaches them to always be kind, helpful, diligent and respectful.

A resident of Clarksville, Al enjoys boating on the lake with his wife. They also like to camp in Myrtle Beach and Gatlinburg.

He received the STAR service award, STAR pin, a parking tag that allows him to park wherever he wants for the month of November and a $40 gift card.

Al has worked at VCU Health CMH for more than a year. He spent 27 years as a patrol officer for a police department and 33 years as a critical care paramedic, both in North Carolina. He retired in 2017 but didn't last very long before going back to full-time work.

"My wife told me I needed to get out of the house," Al joked. "She used to work here and highly recommended it."

Other nominees for the month of October were: Lovellah Ballesteros, Acute Care; Deborah Ezell, Home Health and Hospice; Zahra Murtaza, CMH Foundation; and Lisa Smith, C.A.R.E. Building clinics.