Bob Yarbrough remembers being in Mississippi 18 months after Hurricane Katrina talking to a woman who lived in a FEMA trailer and had lost everything.
“I cannot believe so many people who don’t even know me could love me enough to give up a week of their life to help me,” she said.
Yarbrough was with students from High Point University on an alternative spring break trip. The group installed drywall, replaced flooring, repaired roofs, painted and cleared debris from yards.
Their work: repairing homes. Their mission: restoring hope.
“Regardless of the type of disaster, we encourage the students to talk with the victims. Give them a chance to explain the impact it has had on their lives and the community,” he says.
Yarbrough has taken HPU students to Texas, Alabama, the Florida Panhandle, eastern North Carolina, New Jersey, South Carolina and Tennessee for tornado and flood relief, first as a member of Oak Ridge United Methodist Church and now as an HPU employee.
He became a campus security officer nine years ago and has continued to make an impact through his service on campus.
Yarbrough is one of the trained officers and dispatchers who safeguard campus 24/7.
Collectively, they bring more than 300 years of police, military and fire/EMS experience to the university. Along with this expertise, they are trained in customer service.
Each encounter with a student, staff member or visitor is an opportunity to provide extraordinary service, and Yarbrough has taken this part of his job to heart.
He is frequently stationed at one of HPU’s welcome centers, often the first place visitors experience the caring environment. There, he greets each person coming onto campus.
“The welcome centers provide the best opportunity for me to personally create a positive first impression,” he says.
Yarbrough takes time to memorize the names of visitors who are coming for tours so he can greet them personally when they arrive. This level of compassionate service, coupled with the security department’s state-of-the-art technology, helps HPU provide a safe, inspiring learning environment.
It’s also one of the reasons the security department is frequently commended.
HPU was ranked 16th in the nation by Security magazine and one of the top 25 safest campuses by the National Campus Safety Summit.
Yarbrough has been an important part of developing the department’s culture of caring, an innovative approach among collegiate security programs.
“Bob’s magnanimous efforts personify the values of HPU and the security department,” says Jeff Karpovich, security chief and transportation director. “He devotes his spare time to his grandchildren, church and HPU students. I’ve lost track of the times he’s used vacation to chaperone alternative break trips. He’s a pillar of devotion and generosity and we are blessed to call him a team member.”
View this story and more in the Fall 2016 edition of the HPU Magazine: