Texas couple, FF-medic and nurse, recognized for COVID-19 work in community
Bedford Firefighter-Paramedic Daniel Stewart and Nurse Beth Stewart have been working opposite days on the front lines while raising their two children
Fort Worth Star-Telegram
BEDFORD, Texas —Beth and Daniel Stewart’s lives were turned upside down by the novel coronavirus, but they haven’t stopped grinding away at their work — and their busy family life.
Beth Stewart is a registered nurse in the emergency room at Texas Health Harris Methodist HEB in Bedford, working an overnight shift to help patients with COVID-19 and many other illnesses and injuries.
Daniel Stewart is a firefighter/paramedic in Bedford, where he responds to 911 calls for just about any fathomable emergency on the city streets and in people’s homes and businesses.
The Stewarts, who have busily juggled their schedules while also raising two young children in their North Richland Hills home, are being recognized as part of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s Hometown Heroes series.
Hometown Heroes is sponsored by Lockheed Martin, which is providing $1,000 each week over 28 weeks to those selected by the Star-Telegram to be featured in the series.
“Ordinary people who do their jobs in extraordinary times. That describes Beth and Daniel Stewart,” said Ann Thompson, a friend who nominated the Stewarts for the recognition.
In addition to working those jobs, the Stewarts have two children: daughter Avery, 12; and son Payden, 10.
“As soon as schools closed, Beth and Daniel had to swap schedules with co-workers, manage all the school duties, and keep up with all the new protocols at both jobs. That meant working opposite days for weeks!,” Thompson said of the Stewarts in her nomination email to the Star-Telegram.
“What is so great about Beth AND Daniel is, they never complain or fret about how to manage daily life. This is what they signed up for: stressful jobs, two children, and a household to take care of as well,” Thompson said. “They are two folks who just get on with it — on very little sleep — and make it work.
Thompson and Beth Stewart have been friends for years, and both volunteer their time with Global Hands of Healing, a Hurst-based charitable group that provides medical, vision, dental, veterinary and other forms of health care throughout Central America. They have traveled together to Costa Rica and Panama to provide medical care to needy families as part of that group.
“We have served together on four medical trips to Central America,” Thompson said. “She is a hard worker who always goes the extra mile for everyone. She takes on every challenge and never misses a beat!”
The pandemic has presented challenges for the Stewarts because of their schedules.
Beth Stewart, who is originally from Spring, works an overnight shift — 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. — at Texas Health Harris Methodist HEB in Bedford. Daniel Stewart, a graduate of Richland High School, typically works 24 hours on duty followed by 48 hours off duty.
As a result, the couple only have a day off together about once a week.
But the Stewarts have received plenty of help from siblings and parents who live in the area.
“The beginning was very stressful. There were just so many unknown factors for both of us,” Beth Stewart said. “We did have to scramble to arrange the schedules with the kids. Once we got through that initial period, things started to relax a little bit.”
“We’re working overtime, and managing the kids,” she said. “We have a very supportive family.”
Beth Stewart says the work load has increased at Texas Health Harris Methodist HEB. But, she said, the hospital staff is handling the challenge well. Hospital workers have all the tools they need to fight COVID, including plenty of protective gear, she said.
“Our numbers have definitely increased, but the hospital is doing a wonderful job keeping the staff protected,” she said.
Daniel Stewart says he has never reconsidered becoming a first responder as a career choice. He has been with the Bedford Fire Department for six years.
“This is what I wanted to do,” he said.
Daniel Stewart said the COVID crisis has led to some changes in the routine of a firefighter/paramedic. For example, firefighters must wear face masks anytime they are out of the station, and they must wear a full-body covering — sometimes known as a Tyvek suit — when working on patients who may have the coronavirus.
Those clothing requirements can be somewhat uncomfortable, especially during the summer heat.
But the core mission of a first responder — helping people in an emergency — hasn’t changed much at all because of the pandemic, Daniel Stewart said.
“I am doing what I love,” he said.
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