Bettina Herbert is many things: an immigrant, a mother, and someone who has been recognized by her peers and superiors as a great security guard.
Herbert was the winner of this year’s Security Officer of the Year in a Commercial Office Building award at the 4th annual Building Service Workers Awards on Thursday, October 21. She was honored in a ceremony that was hosted by veteran New York City journalist Jimmy Breslin and former Comptroller William Thompson. The awards were presented by Manhattan Media and 32BJ, a union representing service workers.
Herbert has worked at 75 Rockefeller Center for the past 8 years, but she lives in Parkchester. She said that she could not believe that she was being honored for simply doing her job.
“I was not told that I was in consideration for the award,” Herbert said. “I just got a call one day that I was going to receive an award at this event. I thought that it was a prank at first.”
After finding out that it was for real, Herbert was honored to be recognized. She has spent ten years working as a security guard.She arrived from St. Kitts in the West Indies just 12 years ago, and is the mother of two children: Dario, 6, and Shania, 14. She said that life in the city was difficult to get used to at first.
“It was hard getting used to because in my country it is peaceful and quiet, but here it is busy; in time you adjust,” Herbert said. “When I first came here, security was the easiest kind of job to get and I just stayed and never moved on. I like it because you get to meet a lot of new people on the job.”
Herbert could not say that there was any particular time that really stands out in her mind when she went above and beyond on the job. She said she just gives it her all.
“We help people on a daily basis,” Herbert said. “We protect the people, the building, and the property.”
She said that the tenants in her building in Rockefeller Center usually look out for the security guards. She cited instances where some of her tenants have sent the security guards brownies or shared DVD’s of Tyler Perry movies, which many of the guards enjoy, she said. Herbert may look to get into medical billing sometime in the future. Right now, she is being held up as an example for her co-workers.
“The thousands of men and women who keep New York City running and make our buildings safer and comfortable for millions people should be recognized for their professional service and hard work,” said Mike Fishman, president of 32BJ.