McCrabb: Brothers-in-law reunited while assisting hospitalized COVID-19 patients at Atrium

James "Logan" Beeman, left, a nurse manager at Atrium Medical Center, has been reunited with his brother-in-law, Brayden Hudnall, a specialist in the Ohio National Guard. Hudnall and other guardsmen were recently deployed to the Middletown hospital to assist in non-clinical duties due to COVID-19. Photo courtesy of Atrium Medical Center. CONTRIBUTED

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James "Logan" Beeman, left, a nurse manager at Atrium Medical Center, has been reunited with his brother-in-law, Brayden Hudnall, a specialist in the Ohio National Guard. Hudnall and other guardsmen were recently deployed to the Middletown hospital to assist in non-clinical duties due to COVID-19. Photo courtesy of Atrium Medical Center. CONTRIBUTED

Edgewood High School graduates are back together again, this time caring for others

When Brayden Hudnall moved to Trenton to live with his sister and brother-in-law seven years ago, they never could have imagined where they’d be today.

Coronavirus wasn’t a word.

Masks were mostly worn by football players.

And social distancing was only encouraged by chaperones at junior high dances.

But now Hudnall, a specialist in the Ohio National Guard, and his brother-in-law, James “Logan” Beeman, a nurse manager, have been reunited due to COVID-19.

The guard members have been deployed to hospitals around Ohio to help shore up staffing shortages as workers quit, demand increases, and infections spread in the latest COVID-19 surge.

Ohio National Guard Major General John C. Harris, Jr. made the announcement recently after Gov. Mike DeWine shared that an additional 1,250 guard members would be deployed to help hospitals.

That’s when Hudnall and guard members in his unit were assigned to Atrium Medical Center.

The same hospital where his brother-in-law works.

They learned about the coincidence after texting.

“It’s great to have him and the others around,” said Beeman, 34, a 2006 Edgewood High School graduate. “You can hear the sounds and see the tears from the staff. We are exhausted. This is much needed.”

Dr. Keith Bricking, president of AMC, said there are several non-clinical functions that are “vital to the day-to-day care and services” at the hospital. Guard members will be on site during first- and second-shifts, seven days a week, officials said.

“The Ohio National Guard’s assistance with these tasks means we are able to more efficiently free up beds for the next patient,” he said.

Beeman also enjoys seeing the guard members, some wearing military fatigues, assisting throughout the hospital.

“It’s definitely something different,” he said. “Makes you feel, I don’t know, patriotic.”

Hudnall, 22, lived with his sister, Nikki, and her family for four years while he attended and graduated from Edgewood High School in 2018. He became more like a big brother than an uncle to the Beeman children: Logan, 11, Lydia, 7, and Lili, 4.

After graduation, Hudnall moved to Kentucky to work for his father’s construction business.

Beeman said it’s reassuring to have his brother-in-law and other guard members assisting in non-clinical duties at the hospital. He said the staff at Atrium, like all those working in the medical profession, are physically and mentally drained due to the number of COVID-19 patients and the special restrictions.

He works on a medical/surgical floor and all 48 beds are full. Eighteen of the patients, or 38%, are COVID-19 positive. All the doors in the patients’ rooms are closed to provide another layer of protection against the spread of COVID-19.

“I hope we never have to go through this again,” Beeman said, echoing the sentiments of everyone.

Then he offered a glimmer of hope: “There is a light at the end of the tunnel.”

When Beeman was younger, he followed his mother around when she worked as a social worker at a Middletown nursing facility. That’s where he learned the importance of “helping people” and why he became a nurse, he said.

Now he’s learning the importance of receiving help from others.

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