Biohazard is a word not often used in our daily vocabulary. Simply stated, it refers to biological substances that pose a threat to the health of living organisms, primarily that of humans. And unless you spent a lot of time in high school pouring over the Biology books and looking forward to the labs where you handled those pathetically dead frogs, you might not have heard of the word at all.
In the restoration industry, biohazards are usually encountered when responding to crime scene clean ups or to the untimely death of a loved one. Any bodily fluid that is expelled, particularly blood, can pose a threat to those who come in contact with that fluid. For that reason, First Restoration Services takes the handling of such situations very seriously.
Proper crime scene demeanor as well as industry standard cleaning protocols have always been considered “tools of the trade” at First Restoration Services. But not every biohazard is a result of a crime. The death of a loved one resulting from suicide, or even natural causes, can result in the release of biological substances that need to be properly managed and cleaned.
Derek Henderson brings more to the industry than just his vast knowledge of cleaning techniques.
Having begun at First Restoration Services in 2009, Derek began his employment in the Emergency Services Department where he was among the technicians responding to emergency water losses and fire calls. Certainly his time spent on the job afforded him opportunities to learn, and for a little over a year, Derek plunged through the waters and sewage of the emergency world (literally) until his servant style of leadership brought him into the limelight. In late 2010, Derek was promoted to Cleaning Department Manager, and from that seat a whole new world began to emerge – one that included the trauma and drama of life intermingled with lives that would be forever changed.
While Derek’s daily duties as Cleaning Department Manager might take him into the home of a hoarder where he deals with decades of drier lint that the homeowner somehow cannot seem to part with, he may also be called to a fire loss where he is knee deep in debris and contents that the homeowner desperately (and instantly) desires to have cleaned and/or preserved. On other days Derek may find himself in the midst of a crime scene or unattended death scene, consoling a relative who has come to visit that aunt they had been unreachable on the phone, only to discover upon arrival that she died a week ago and her home now wreaks of life that has given way to death. At worst, he may be called to investigate the cleaning of a suicide where a gunshot blast has driven blood and body parts into the floor joists and walls of the home. With that tragedy awaits his steady and compassionate heart, consoling those left behind who are struggling to make sense of a suddenly chaotic situation, while at the same time demonstrating his professionalism and knowledge of the cleaning industry.
Possessing an inner strength that Derek contributes to the work of the Lord Jesus in his life (intermixed with the consistent encouragement of his wife, Wendy), no task is considered too gruesome or demeaning for him to undertake. Encountering such devastating circumstances throughout the course of a day’s work might leave some heavy-hearted, but not Derek! Derek truly exhibits calmness in the midst of the storms of life, and that calmness regenerates purpose to lives that have otherwise been painted with misery and all loss of hope.
By definition, restoration is the art of bringing something back to its original condition or better. Think about that for a moment.
While typically we ponder on items such as homes, contents or even automobiles as items that can be restored once they have been damaged in some way, seldom do we imagine that our very lives may be crushed to the point of needing restoration. Furthermore, the opportunity for full recovery from loss if restoration does occur rarely exists.
And yet, that is exactly the story of triumph from devastation that our Emergency Services Manager, John Gentry, brings to us.
Not unlike many in today’s society, John grew up without an important figure being present daily in his life. The separation and divorce of his parents when he was nine years old brought about a lifestyle change that at first threatened to strangle his boyhood, but in the end actually birthed in him an independence and strength that would be unmatched by many of his peers.
Only shortly after John and his mom sought lodging in his grandparent’s home, his grandfather suffered a stroke. The only dominant male figure left in his daily life was no longer able to communicate in the same way with him. Neither were there any more opportunities to be had with his grandfather for tossing a baseball back and forth, or for long walks through the streets of Brevard where he was growing up rather too rapidly – not by any choice of his own. Devastation upon devastation seemed to overtake his young life. And yet for John, there were no second thoughts or backwards glances about what he was to do.
Chopping wood and mowing grass became second nature to John’s young frame. Being the only able-bodied male in a house with three women and an invalid, there was little time for deciding between boyhood and manhood. John watched and listened to those around him while he delved into the role of caretaker for his grandfather, grandmother, mom and sister. And as he did so, he grew to love and respect the quiet strength and strong work ethic that he saw patterned in his grandmother, and adopted such as his own standard for living.
John grew up quickly, leaving high school on the road to greater opportunity. That is exactly what brought him to First Restoration Services in 2004. John began his career path by immediately incorporating the grunt of hard work that he had learned and adopted as a boy into his day to day routine. His first job was pulling insulation from a crawl space – not a glamorous start by any means, but one in which his backbone efforts won him recognition as a man who was tough and capable. As he continued daily with his nose to the grind at First Restoration Services, he continued strengthening his own personal belief that integrity is a learned and practiced trait and one that was worth patterning for others. He hired his younger brother to work for him at his home with every intention to teach him just as he had been taught – that hard work pays off, and that one’s worth is often simply found in a job well done.
In 2007, John was voted to be Employee of the Quarter by the other department managers. At the same time, John’s enthusiasm for his job heightened, but it wasn’t until 2009 when John was promoted to Emergency Services Manager that the real seat of honor was taken. The company had changed its voting procedures slightly over the years, allowing technicians and other employees to enter into the voting process along with the managers. With that change, John was voted Employee of the Year in 2011.
While to some there may be no significance associated with that event, to John the difference came in knowing that the technicians he supervised every day awarded him that title, and with it their respect. To be sure, when an emergency call comes in, John is on the scene, either personally or through the veins of his teaching as his technicians plunge elbow deep into the mire of the job at hand.
Never is there a doubt that when a disaster happens, John is at the helm of making sure that it is taken care of thoroughly, diligently, with integrity, and always….with a reminder of his grandmother’s smile and nod of praise.
This morning, the Employee of the Year for 2012 was announced. To win Employee of the Year, you had to have been Employee of the Quarter at least once in 2012 and be voted on by everyone at First Restoration Services. This year, we are proud that our Emergency Services Manager, John Gentry, won this esteemed award. Thank you John, for your hard work and dedication at First Restoration. You are clearly respected and thought of highly by your peers.
John Gentry receiving Employee of the Year award from co-owner, Chris Silliman.
I received a flu shot today. If you didn’t receive flu shot don’t forget to wash your hand on a regular basis and cover your mouth before you cough when you get the flu.
We sponsored a hole at the AHBA 2011 Golf Tournament. There were a lot of good golfers out there (drivers anyway). We gave away a sleeve of golf balls for the worst shot from each team. It was a good event. It is important to First Restoration Services to give back and support our local associations.
First Restoration Services of Asheville specializes in smoke odor removal and cleaning of all types in Buncombe, Henderson, Transylvania counties, and surrounding areas. First Restoration Services is also the only restoration contractor west of Charlotte that has the Esporta Wash System and the Fireline Ultrasonics Cleaning System.
Disasters Happen. We Take Care of Them All. 828-684-1582 or 800-537-6151.
A tradition here at First Restoration Services is to have a monthly breakfast with the guys. This month Shelley and myself prepared breakfast for the guys, here in the shop. Pancakes, sausage, and fruit rounded out the meal with all the toppings for the pancakes. It’s always fun to get with the guys and share a meal together. Afterwards we went to the confrence room and viewed some funny videos that have been sent to me by various people. It’s fun to get together with no agenda in mind.
I know this doesn’t have anything to do with Water Damage or any of the many other services we offer, but John and I ate at Burgermeister’s this past Friday for lunch. Here recently I have taken a liking to “Carolina Burgers”, so I ordered one. That was the biggest and the best Carolina I have ever had. The size, taste, presentation, and everything else was amazing. The service was great also. Highly recommended.
We are all in sales and marketing aren’t we? It’s so refreshing to work with a team that fosters that development.
We were privileged to attend DKI Marketing Summit in Charlotte NC last week. If you have never been “Marvinized” by speaker and author Marvin Montgomery you are missing out! He spoke of attitude and how imortant it is to listen to the needs of our customers. Basic stuff-huh? It is surprising how we forget to ask and listen isn’t it?
Good Selling to all and make it a great day!
I did not know that Hallmark had created a National Boss Day. I think I’ll send them a note thanking them for such a day…..probably not !!!!
Was I ever surprised by our employees last Friday by an early morning blow out for my wife Shelley and I. We were blown away by all the great things said about us and the way we treat our employees and run this business.
This kind act demonstrates to me a couple of things.
1. We have great employees, that perform without hesitation to their duties. Sometimes it’s just not a glamorous days work, but there is always a teamwork attitude and they get the tasks done.
2. It also shows me that due diligence in hiring great individuals suited for the job description really pays off. Using good hiring practices eliminates having to use firing practices.
So, thanks again guys and gals for all the great praises and food but I really want you to know…..without you, the employees, First Restoration Services of Asheville would not be the great company it is today.
The restoration industry seems to keep growing so that means more technicians needed. We have a new technician starting tomorrow and still in search of one more to hire.