Our colleague, Allied Universal security professional Christian LaCour, was tragically killed this past weekend while shielding shoppers and employees from a gunman in Allen, Texas.
His grandmother wrote on Facebook that he was “such beautiful soul.” The local police chief said Christian escorted one person to safety and then remained on-site helping others before he was shot. “He just wanted us to be safe,” a store employee said.
He had moved in danger’s direction. He protected others. The definition of a hero.
As so often happens when violence arises, security staff are on the scene – even before first responders. Last May, another of our security professionals, Aaron Salter, Jr., lost his life when a gunman opened fire in a supermarket in Buffalo, New York. He was a 30-year veteran of the Buffalo Police Department. He was a hero.
These stories of remarkable bravery are rightfully acknowledged. Often ignored, however, are the daily acts of courage by security professionals. Polls show that personal safety (physical and emotional), are among Americans’ highest concerns. For all of us, our ability to go about our lives – at school, work, sports, concerts, places of worship, restaurants and a hundred other locations – is made possible by security professionals.
Local government budgets are being stretched, forced to cover a range of challenging issues. Trained security professionals fill a vital need. Here are just a few recent examples:
We employ industry-leading training programs to prepare our team for this kind of work. Our fire and life safety training provides comprehensive emergency preparedness for every type of facility, including high-rise building owners and managers. Our workplace violence training incorporates the latest in threat prevention and mitigation. And our employees are trained to save lives in all natural disasters, from earthquakes to hurricanes.
Like all professionals, especially those who operate in high-pressure and dangerous environments, we are not perfect. In those cases, we learn from experience and take responsibility as part of our commitment to continuous improvement. But the public should know more about our work, our professionals, than what they are hearing today.
Security professionals are among the few people whose entire workplace role is to protect others, and who may be injured or killed in the line of duty. Tragically, horribly, that is what happened to Christian and Aaron. You now know their remarkable stories.
What you may not know are the security professionals who, in just the last few months, have administered life-saving medical aid, extinguished fires, foiled human trafficking, prevented suicides and removed firearms from public spaces. There they are protecting others, helping our communities. Their stories should be known, too. Heroes, every day.
So, let Christian and Aaron’s lives serve as a reminder: Thank a security guard today.