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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A decorated Oklahoma military veteran is being nationally recognized for supporting nursing home residents and staff during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The American Health Care Association and the National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) chose Diakonos Director of Human Resources Todd Beesley to serve in the Future Leader program for long term and post-acute care.

A Diakonos Group news release described the he Future Leaders program as a year-long program that offers training and guidance for industry professionals.

Beesley, a Marine Corps and Army veteran with nearly 30 years of service, achieved a decorated military career that included combat in Operation Desert Storm in Kuwait and Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.

“He commanded a 200-person Special Troops Company in a Light Infantry Brigade Combat Team and later served as an Operations Officer in a 1,000-person Sustainment Brigade responsible for providing logistical support for the Army in the Pacific Theater,” the news release states.

Beesley began fighting a new but different battle when the COVID-19 pandemic emerged – helping nursing home residents and staff withstand the challenges and hardships brought about by the pandemic.

“Outside of his work at Diakonos Group, he led the effort to help other long term care providers find qualified and dedicated staff when their facilities experienced COVID-19 outbreaks,” the news release states. “His colleagues frequently praise him for holding one-on-one meetings with staff to fine-tune operations and improve services.”

Diakonos Chief Operations Officer Kimberly Green described Beesley’s work as a “godsend.”

“In a lot of ways, fighting COVID-19 in a skilled nursing facility is like fighting a war,” said Green. “We create a battle plan to contain this virus; we train to execute that plan; and we face an enormous amount of personnel, logistical, and supply-chain issues along the way. Lives literally depend on our success. What better person could we have at our side than Todd, who has seen and done it all in the service of this country? We are truly blessed to have him on our team, and I know our residents and staff feel the same.”