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PCC staffer behind popular ‘You Are Loved’ campaign
Photos and Story by Janis Nichols
Ron Beers is a custodian at PCC’s Rock Creek Campus. He’s also a man his daughter Hailey compares to the Incredible Hulk and he’s the force behind the “You Are Loved” cards that started showing up at the campus in 2005 and eventually floated their way to Hong Kong and the Philippines.
His life at Rock Creek actually started when Linda Eden, director of Auxiliary Services, got to know his voice.
“When they were young, my kids liked McDonalds so when we got to the drive-up speaker, we’d talk to Ron,” Eden said. “He was always cordial, polite and very considerate. He had excellent customer service skills and I thought he would be a good fit for PCC.”
She asked him if was interested in working at PCC and when he said “yes” she encouraged him to keep checking the PCC online job site.
In 2000, Beers was eventually successful as he earned his first job with PCC working in the kitchen at the Sylvania Campus. He worked there for more than 11 years before he was hired by Facilities Maintenance Services for his current job at Rock Creek Campus.
A difficult personal life and the suicide of one of Hailey’s friends, caused Beers to focus on the amount of sadness and desperation he saw around him. He and two coworkers started talking about what they might do to change things. Collectively they came up with the “You Are Loved” idea.
“We started with label tape but that didn’t work very well,” he said. “Then we tried colored cards but it was too expensive. Eventually I went to the PCC Print Shop at the Sylvania Campus and printed 1,000 little cards and started handing them out. People were receptive.”
Beers gave cards to vendors. He gave 4,000 cards to two friends to hand out in what he called the “You Are Loved” challenge. The card showed up on a Facebook page. Local pastors were handing them out. People were either looking for them or talking about them. Since 2005, Beers has produced and distributed more than 60,000 cards.
He later met a woman on a dating site which led him to visit her in Hong Kong.
“I gave her 600 cards,” he added. “She just reordered another 5,000 more. I’m now making ‘You Are Loved’ t-shirts and some of them will go to the Philippines to be worn by volunteers who are coordinating an event to feed the hungry.”
Last year, Beers gave a “You Are Loved” presentation at the Rock Creek Campus Multicultural Center. He will facilitate a follow-up workshop from noon to 1 p.m, Wednesday, Oct. 7. All students, faculty and staff are invited.
“My goal to help end suffering,” he said. “I want to blanket and feed the homeless, find coats for foster kids and have good conversations with a smile.”
His generosity of spirit doesn’t end with distributing cards. In 2014, he learned that an AmeriCorps volunteer working at the Rock Creek Learning Garden was living in his van. Jeff Mailes, who is from Southern California, learned firsthand that AmeriCorps wages will not cover housing expenses.
“Jeff had parked his van in the Learning Garden,” said Elaine Cole, sustainability coordinator at Rock Creek. “Ron heard about it and offered Jeff a room in his home. Jeff stayed with Ron for about four or five months until his AmeriCorps contract ended.”
The essence of Ron Beers is perhaps best captured in an expository writing project produced by his daughter Hailey. She wrote, “Heroes don’t always wear a mask or cape or even a uniform. Heroes are the people that change the world by helping it. About seven years ago, my dad created ‘You Are Loved’ cards. By handing out these cards to people, he is creating a better world and saving lives.”