Back to work after a weekend of retirement


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Posted Online: Feb. 08, 2014, 8:10 am
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By Anthony Watt, awatt@qconline.com
ROCK ISLAND -- Helping is the part he likes.

Mark Beckwith, 51, of Moline, began his public safety career as an emergency medical technician, then spent 28 years with the Milan Police Department, working his way up to chief. Now, he is assistant chief of public safety at Augustana College.

Helping someone with a problem is a high point of public safety, Mr. Beckwith said. "You are there in the time of need."

He admits that working in public safety at Augustana is a bit different from riding an ambulance or walking a beat. The officers have things they have to handle, but the things are different than those handled in broader law enforcement.

It's also a little more "9 to 5," he said, adding that shifts as a police or fire first responder often are dictated by events rather than set hours.

Law enforcement is a front-row seat to life, he said; sometimes it can be quiet and other times it's gut wrenching. "No two days were the same."

At Augustana, his tasks as assistant chief include investigations as needed, but also handling parking ticket appeals and working on the college's emergency plan, designed to give the campus guidelines for major storms and other events that could affect operations.

He also works with several students who help the Public Safety Office.

Working with them is fulfilling and they will some day step into leadership roles, he said. "You get a lot of energy from students," Mr. Beckwith said.

The Augustana community is an inviting one, with hundreds of employees and thousands of students, all friendly.

"The environment here, the people you work with here, it's awesome."

When Mr. Beckwith retired from the Milan Police Department, he said he took a weekend off, then went right to work for the college. Friday, retire. Saturday through Sunday, retired. Monday, Augustana.

He does have hobbies -- golfing, antiquing -- but much of his off time is devoted to his family. "To me, family is everything," he said.

True retirement could happen, but he has not set a schedule for it.

"I will eventually. I just haven't found that part of my life to do that."

















 



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  Today is Wednesday, Sept. 17, the 260th day of 2014. There are 105 days left in the year.
1864 -- 150 years ago: We are told league merchants have paid no attention to the prohibition on selling ammunition, but continue to sell just as before the order was issued.
1889 -- 125 years ago: The Rev. R.F. Sweet, rector of Trinity Episcopal Parish, left for the East to visit his boyhood home in Boston before attending the general convention of the Episcopal Church in New York.
1914 -- 100 years ago: Dr. E.A. Anderson was named to succeed Dr. E.L. Kerns as head physician of the Modern Woodmen of America, and moved to Rock Island from Holdingford, Minn.
1939 -- 75 years ago: One week late, because of the outbreak of war, Dr. E.L. Beyer resumed his work as professor of romance languages at Augustana College. Dr. and Mrs. Beyer left Germany on the last train to the Belgian border.
1964 -- 50 years ago: Employees in Turnstyle stores in Moline and Davenport will vote Oct. 2 in an election set up by the Chicago regional office of the National Labor Relations Board. Employees will vote either for the Retail Clerk International or for no union.
1989 -- 25 years ago: Rock Island High School is considering a step to help teen moms stay in school and get their diploma. The school board is expected to vote tonight on instituting an on-site child care center.


(More History)