Back at the elevator, Beckford managed to do that, just enough so that a Kenny Rogers song came to him.“You taught me everything I know,” Beckford crooned, “can’t imagine loving someone so.” Tipon gazed up from the stretcher, smiling, as Beckford finished that Rogers tune and started another: “While she lay sleeping, I stayed out late at night and played my song …”The music carried Tipon back to her bedroom for the day, a semi-private room in the new eighth story patient floor that opened in October.“Thank you for my ride,” Tipon said, glowing. “You make me feel healthy again.”Beckford eased Tipon into her bed using a mechanical lift: “Make believe you’re in a hammock in Jamaica, right?”Tipon arrived safely. But Beckford’s work wasn’t done: Right next to Tipon’s bed, another patient spotted him. Vera Vicentini, 63, of Malden, Mass., who was suffering from a brain tumor, recognized Beckford’s voice from when he serenaded her through the hospital on the way to get an MRI.He sang her a gospel song, she said. “I almost cried. It was amazing.”Vicentini asked him to sing to her again. This time, the old gospel tune “I Believe” came to him easily. Vincenti joined in, shedding a tear as they sang.“He’s not just a man that transports us,” she said. “He makes us happy. He makes our day bright.” By Melissa Bailey Jan. 4, 2016 Reprints The singing transporterVolume 0%Press shift question mark to access a list of keyboard shortcutsKeyboard ShortcutsEnabledDisabledPlay/PauseSPACEIncrease Volume↑Decrease Volume↓Seek Forward→Seek Backward←Captions On/OffcFullscreen/Exit FullscreenfMute/UnmutemSeek %0-9 facebook twitter Email Linkhttps://www.statnews.com/2016/01/04/singing-hospital-worker/?jwsource=clCopied EmbedCopiedLive00:0001:5501:55 Pulse of Longwood takes you inside one of the nation’s largest hubs of hospitals and biomedical research.Nervous patients heading into surgery at one Boston hospital may get an extra dose of pre-op medicine: a serenade from transport worker Lindon Beckford. That is, if he can just calm his own nerves first.Beckford spends his days wheeling patients around Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, a 672-bed hospital in the Longwood Medical Area. Over the past three decades, he has become known for filling the hallways with song. His melodies have caught the attention of hospital staff, who have featured his performances in an employee orientation video and even called on him to sing to a patient who was about to die.Beckford, 52, does this while battling his own condition, anxiety and panic attacks that can make it hard to sing. His stage is a network of hospital corridors and patient rooms, which he traverses for eight hours a day in a blue hospital uniform and bright white sneakers.advertisement 5 things to know about Boston’s hospital hotspot While they aren’t ordered up on an official hospital prescription, Beckford’s serenades can offer patients a kind of inner therapy that’s missing from drugs and surgeries — one that can help patients heal better. Studies have shown that music reduces stress and boosts mood and immunity. And improving patients’ moods as they head into the operating room may improve post-surgical outcomes.“A doctor has his part to play, a nurse has her part … I’ve got my part to play,” Beckford said in an interview in the hospital’s basement breakroom.Not every patient wants to hear music, though, so Beckford asks first. 3 people to watch in Longwood in 2016 HealthWatch: In stressful hospital corridors, a singing staffer eases patients’ anxiety He sings while rolling patients into surgery, delivering wheelchairs, fetching broken equipment, and taking blood and urine samples to the lab. He sings gospel, love songs, and country music classics from Kenny Rogers, Dolly Parton, and Charley Pride. Sometimes he hums his own reggae songs in a genre called “lovers rock.” The only time he doesn’t sing, he said, is when he has to take a body to the morgue.Beckford, who lives with his wife and two kids in the Boston neighborhood of Roslindale, has been singing ever since he was a little boy growing up in Jamaica. He used to perform live in nightclubs in Massachusetts and Maine, but had to stop due to panic attacks on stage. After joining the hospital in 1985, he began to sing on the job. First he sang just to comfort himself and piece together original melodies. Then people started to notice. So he started singing to them, not just to himself.advertisement Related: That’s what he did one recent morning in the gloomy nuclear medicine department, where 58-year-old Barbara Tipon lay on a stretcher, waiting for a ride back to her room. Tipon, who moved to Boston from the Bavarian Forest in Germany, showed up at the hospital to get checked for a possible stroke. Beckford walked over and greeted her.“Hi, I’m Lindon. I’m going to be your chauffeur,” he said. “If you want to stop on the way for a piña colada, you let me know.”When he offered to sing, Tipon requested Elvis. But Beckford couldn’t think of any Elvis songs — or any other songs for that matter. Nervous, his mind went blank. He rolled her through the corridor, still searching for a song.Lindon Beckford is a hospital transport worker who sings while he works. Suzanne Kreiter/The Boston Globe“You’re going to feel a little bump on the cobblestone, OK?” he said, still searching.As he approached the elevator, the stage fright hit a climax: “I can’t remember any song,” he said. “Give me a song, will you?”That same anxiety used to grip him when he sang in nightclubs, Beckford later said.“I would forget my lyrics,” he said. The panic would “drive you crazy. You’re nervous … you start a song, but you start it in the wrong key” and can’t finish. “Anxiety can put you in a bad spot.”It got so bad that Beckford saw a doctor, who prescribed him anti-anxiety pills. But he said he takes them only if he has to perform before a crowd.When anxiety strikes, he said, “your mind goes haywire, and you have to calm the mind, so [the music] comes to you.” Related: At Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, Lindon Beckford, a transporter, often puts patients at ease by singing. Hyacinth Empinado/STAT Why medical schools are training doctors in literature and art Related: Tags Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centerhospitalspatients
A strange thing happened to James Stupack when the housing market and economy plummeted. As a logger, his first instinct could have been to curl up and brace for what was to come. After all, a lot of loggers lost their livelihoods. Instead, Stupack started, in his own words, “having fun.” His perspective changed. When he looked at the large inventory of logs piling up on his 23-acre property outside of Kalispell on Farm to Market Road, he no longer saw great masses of waste waiting to be burned.If he took a step back, he saw archways and niche market opportunities – cedar jack leg fence posts and future dream cabins. A crooked, useless log suddenly became a “character log” with limitless artistic applications. It just so happens his crew saw the same things. And no matter how offbeat the idea, Stupack’s workers can do it in-house. “If you can’t find a decorative use for something, you can always cut it into firewood,” Stupack said.And Stupack has an unlikely explanation for his desire not to waste: “I’m too much of an old hippie to get rid of it.” Stupack looks nothing like anyone’s idea of a hippie.But maybe that’s part of his success. Stupack doesn’t fit into any easy categories. He breaks the mold. And he’s a pretty happy camper.“Even though the economy has gone to hell, this has kept me from having to lay off anyone,” Stupack said. “It’s given us something to do. We have jobs and we have fun.” Tony Martin removes snow from a large “character” log at Wild Montana Wood off Farm to Market Road. The twisted log is going to be used in a decorative archway. “People are trying to be aware of where the market is and be aware that you can’t rely just on one market,” Uken said. But Stupack isn’t easy to pigeonhole into a market. As he says, “we’ll do anything.” One couple stopped by Stupack’s place on the way to a social function after seeing the elegant archway at the entrance to his log yard. They wanted one too. “The lady walked around for an hour and a half in high heels looking for the right log,” Stupack said. She found the right log and it’s clear that Stupack is as excited as she is. Whereas the log would have previously been considered “junk,” now Stupack’s crew combs the mountainsides looking for similarly flawed wood. A curve might make it unusable as a saw log, but fashionable as part of an archway. The same can be said about deep scars and blemishes. “This is a cool log over here,” Stupack said. “This is something the crew’s been trying to look out for.” He added: “All my years in the woods, I never dreamed I’d sell a log like that.” Beyond the business practicality of utilizing junk wood, there is an element of sustainability that pleases Stupack. Years ago, logs unsuitable for mills were destined for burn piles. Now they have a use, no matter their derivation – Western larch, cedar, Douglas fir, white pine, you name it. The less time Stupack spends in the woods cutting down trees, the more time he has to think about how he can utilize the logs sitting on his property, which he purchased from the county in 2000. It used to be the landfill.Stupack has a growing firewood business for wood that doesn’t seem to serve any other purpose. Nothing is wasted on his land. A cedar fence leads into the entrance of Wild Montana Wood off Farm to Market Road. Email “I told my crew, ‘You guys got talents, you got abilities, you can do all this yourselves,’” Stupack said. “They’re not a conventional logging crew. They can do a lot of different things.”The result of their collective vision is Wild Montana Wood, a fledgling yet already successful side business that complements Stupack’s Tough Go Logging. When logging projects are scarce, there’s plenty of work to do back on Stupack’s property. Stupack, who has been logging for 32 years, is a success story in an industry sorely needing optimism.“It’s been fun, just a lot of fun,” Stupack said. “It’s kind of weird – there’s this downturn in the economy and I’ve been sleeping better.”Fun aside, Stupack is making a living the only way he knows how: with the grind of long days, heavy machinery and wood. He still gets jobs through Tough Go Logging, but Wild Montana Wood is there to pick up the slack when there’s no work in the woods. Stupack is currently running a logging crew near Trout Creek.Paul Uken of the Montana Logging Association said loggers are adapting by necessity to changing markets. Mills aren’t consuming massive amounts of logs for lumber anymore. In fact, some aren’t consuming anything anymore. Western Montana has seen its share of shuttered mills.Uken said in the past year the post and rail market “has been really good.” Other opportunities have been found in woodchips, hog fuel, biomass and salvage operations. Even big-time, mainstream loggers, Uken said, have made the switch to smaller-scale markets. Stay Connected with the Daily Roundup. Sign up for our newsletter and get the best of the Beacon delivered every day to your inbox. Standing near his fire pit on his property off Farm to Market Road, James Stupack talks about his new business, Wild Montana Wood.