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Harold “Bucky” Herndon’s Storied Career in Service of Others

After more than 43 years with LVHN, Bucky Herndon is still learning every day

Harold "Bucky" Herndon

After 43 years on the job, Harold (Bucky) Herndon learns something new every day. At 63, Herndon feels he is getting younger as days go by because he is constantly learning and growing and is surrounded by a team that inspires him to be great.

“That’s what LVHN does for you,” says Herndon. “If you want to succeed, you are surrounded by good people who will help you along the way.”

Working behind the scenes

Herndon joined what is now Lehigh Valley Hospital (LVH)–Schuylkill in 1981. After 19 years of service in security, he transitioned to supply distribution services. Today he is supervisor of supply chain operations and oversees a team of six colleagues. 

“This is not the career path I thought I would take,” says Herndon. “However, after doing this job I would not want to do anything else. I have been able to learn and grow with this organization and I truly love my job.”

When you think about a career in a hospital, you may think of nurses and doctors. You may not think of the people behind the scenes responsible for making sure those caring for patients have everything they need to do their jobs.

Supply chain management is a department responsible for contracting, procurement, distribution, logistics and warehousing of all supplies needed for LVHN to function.

“I know my job is critically important. It’s one of the best jobs there is,” says Herndon. “Me and my team, we are front-line workers. Making sure our colleagues have what they need allows them to provide excellent care to our patients. If what I’m doing is helping our patients and colleagues – even in a small way – that’s very important to me.”

“My colleagues, everyone I have had the privilege of working with, are the best. Caring for my colleagues and our patients is the biggest joy in my career.”

Harold (Bucky) Herndon

A heart for service

In the heart of Schuylkill County, Port Carbon borough is home to 1,765 residents. The town that was named for its anthracite coal and a waterway to transport it has a rich 170-year history. Talk to residents of Port Carbon today, and there’s a good chance they know Bucky Herndon – their mayor.

Involved in local government for 16 years, Herndon has served as mayor for six. 

His roles as mayor and LVHN colleague intersected in 2018 when Port Carbon and surrounding communities were devastated by historic flooding.

“I remember going on seven days with hardly any sleep,” says Herndon. “When my colleagues from LVH–Schuylkill reached out to help, the response was overwhelming.”

From students at LVHN’s Joseph F. McCloskey School of Nursing to hospital leaders, colleagues came together to deliver supplies and food, provide shower facilities and offer tetanus shots for recovery workers and those in the flood zone.

“LVHN’s mission to heal, comfort and care for the community was on full display,” says Herndon.

As part of his mayoral duties, you will find Herndon swearing in new police officers and elected officials, officiating weddings and bringing holiday magic to the children of Port Carbon, dressing as Santa at Christmas parties for more than 25 years. After his 43 years as a volunteer firefighter, there is no part of the community untouched by his service. 

The joy he finds in serving his community pales only in comparison to the devotion he has to his family, who he credits for the success he’s achieved in all parts of his life.

“Without the support of my family, I would not be where I am today,” he says.

A team effort

As Herndon and his team prepare for annual inventory, a day that starts at 6:30 a.m. and lasts 10 to 12 hours while they count each supply in the hospital’s inventory, he can’t help but appreciate the supply chain colleagues who make it all happen.

“It is hard work but it’s worth every second,” says Herndon. “I work with the best people. Through the good and the bad, we can make a difference in someone’s life and that is what makes it worthwhile.”

He also gives credit to leaders who took him under their wing and trusted him with new opportunities. 

“I have had the honor of working with, learning from and training with my leaders, who have helped me be who am I am today,” says Herndon.

Jim Young, Supply Chain Management Supervisor at LVH–Cedar Crest, reached out to Herndon because he had an opening for a team lead at LVH–Schuylkill. 

“He mentored me,” says Herndon. “He knew I could do the job and always had my back.”

Having a manager who believes in your potential is key to growing in your career. Lucky for Herndon, he’s had great managers who have inspired him to grow.

Mike Lantz, Director of Supply Chain Operations, LVHN, hired Herndon as a supervisor, and Maureen Curran, Manager of Supply Chain Operations, LVHN, supports Herndon and his team today.

“Mike had faith and knew I could do this job even when I didn’t believe it myself,” says Herndon. “Maureen shows constant guidance and kindness. She always says, ‘Treat everyone the way you want to be treated,’ and I live by that every day.”

Now as a supervisor, Herndon pays it forward to his team.

“My colleagues, everyone I have had the privilege of working with, are the best,” he says. “Caring for my colleagues and our patients is the biggest joy in my career. I would not change a thing.”

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