Of course, Andrew Goode has the professional credentials to be the LHSFNA’s new Occupational Health Nurse. He is a graduate of George Mason University (GMU) with a degree in nursing, holds membership in the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses and worked almost a decade in acute, bedside care in a variety of Virginia hospital settings.

But there is more to his story, much more.

Goode grew up in a strict and disciplined military family. His father, a hands-on kind of man, introduced him to household construction and machinery when he was just a kid.

After high school, unsure what he wanted to do with his life, he dropped out of community college and joined the Army. During the first Gulf War, while participating in engineer tank combat training in Germany, he suffered an unnecessary occupational injury when his NCO, eschewing use of transporting equipment during winter weather, ordered him to hand carry heavy tank tread parts from one location to another. He slipped on the ice and a tread crushed his hand. After almost a year of specialized surgery and rehabilitation, he was out of the Army with an honorable discharge.

The military experience, however, had cleared his mind, and he knew he wanted a career helping others. Highly motivated, he returned to community college where he excelled in science before going on to GMU for his nursing degree. Steadily, he worked his way up to Charge RN, Resource RN and Unit Educator at the Critical Care Unit at the Reston Hospital Center.

Interestingly, while in community college Goode met his future wife, Casey Hammond, and her father, LIUNA’s late Vice President Steve Hammond. As Goode wrestled with the intensifying pressures of a nursing career – as the American health care system transforms, more mentally and physically demanding work is shifted onto nurses who are in increasingly short supply – his father-in-law helped him understand the role and power of organized labor.

When Vice President Hammond died last year, Goode was moved to make a career change. “I loved being bedside, seeing immediate and direct results from my work,” he says. “But Steve’s passing awakened an awareness in me that I wanted to do something more personal, more consistent with my mounting concerns about the pressures on nurses and the other health care professionals. I wanted to be an advocate for workers and their rights.”

Then, the Occupational Health Nurse position opened here at the LHSFNA, and the strands of Goode’s life – his youthful construction and mechanical orientation, his occupational injury, his concern for patients and for their care-givers, his love of his father-in-law and his union inspiration – all came together in a rather remarkable way.

Enthusiastic, Goode started work in April. “From where I sit, my work can improve the quality of life for thousands of Laborers. That’s a tremendous opportunity, and I’m excited about the possibilities. The health of LIUNA’s members and their families are a priority. They are the future of this union and our country.”

[Steve Clark]