Henderson, a security guard for the last four years, went above and beyond the call of duty one September night, keeping an elderly and lonely patient company into the early hours of the following morning. The patient died mere hours later.
For his efforts and compassion, the hospital staff recently presented him with an employee of the year award, complete with a trophy and a $500 check.
“He’s a great guy,” said Jeff Crews, Henderson’s supervisor. “He’s definitely well-deserving of the award.”
Officials at Jacksonville Medical did not provide details about the patient or contact information for her family, saying that to do so would violate federal patient privacy laws.
Henderson has a habit of providing comfort and a friendly face to patients at Jacksonville Medical.
“I sit with lots of people from time to time, usually for about 20 or 30 minutes,” Henderson said.
However, that night in September was special.
“The patient had been calling out for family all night, but was left without anyone with her,” said Kristy Jackson, spokeswoman for Jacksonville Medical.
Jackson said Henderson stayed with the patient all night to let her know she wasn’t alone.
“Something was just telling me to stay with her,” Henderson said. “She kept asking me if I was going to come back and stay with her … and by the grace of God, I sat with her all night.”
Henderson said he spent most of that night just talking with the patient, listening to her speak about the good ole’ days.
“I was talking with her and she was laughing and she was happy,” Henderson said. “I’m a godly person and I like to talk to the elderly.”
But even when he is performing his regular duties, Henderson provides extra care and safety for patients and hospital staff.
“I take safety measures … I walk with employees to their car at night,” Henderson said. “If someone needs a wheelchair to their car, I bring it down for them.”
Henderson said he was grateful to win his award.
“I didn’t know I was getting it,” he said. “I felt it was a true blessing to get that.”
Staff writer Patrick McCreless: 256-235-3561. On Twitter @PMcCreless_Star.