ON THE FRONT LINES
With the shifting roles of receptionist, welcome wagon, mailman, bouncer, rescue liaison and watchman, being a security officer requires a healthy ability to multitask. And for nearly a decade, Frank Bellido has been up to the challenge. A security officer at 75 Broad St., Bellido has spent eight years keeping workers safe in the heart of the Financial District. Bellido, who grew up in Red Hook, Brooklyn, spent 20 years working as a supervisor at Bloomingdale's, dabbling in security duties during that time. Eight years ago, he left to take a full-time job in security, and now he works in the data center at 75 Broad. "In those 20 years at Bloomingdale's, we kind of grew up with each other," said Bellido, who now lives in the Bronx. "Working in security, I now get to add in a technical part, working with computers in the data center. I still get to work with people, too." While at Bloomingdale's, Bellido was part of the store workers' union, but he was not active. As a security officer, he now takes his work with SEIU Local 32BJ very seriously. The largest building service workers' union in the country, 32BJ represents more than 10,000 cleaners, doormen, porters, maintenance workers, superintendents and security officers from Connecticut to Virginia. "Working with the 32BJs and being on the contract negotiating committee this year has been some of my favorite times," Bellido said. "We have a new security division, which is something we can build on, but it's hard work because a lot of security officers are very skeptical about unions. A lot of them come from oppressed countries where unions were never heard of... and that's a challenge. I love the work." Bellido began work at 75 Broad one year before 9/11, but rather than scare him away from the job, the events of that day strengthened his resolve to remain in the security industry. "9/11 was our finest hour," Bellido said. "It made me proud because a lot of security officers were put to the test on that day. I'm proud to be a security officer. It's an integral part of homeland security." The entire Bellido family takes that idea seriously, including Bellido's three children. He is particularly proud of his daughter's 2005 service in Iraq. Security officers assigned to lobbies are the first line of communication between the building and the outside world, be it rescue workers, delivery persons or routine maintenance requests. "In my job, even though it's a small site, the first person anybody talks to is me, either on the phone or face to face, so the security officer replaces a lot of jobs," Bellido said. "Now a lot of offices have security officers at reception taking packages, doing escorts, doing patrols. Our job is to get everything ready so when the fire department or police department comes in, they have all the information that they need. We do a lot of jobs."
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