“We at Villa Rosa want to compliment the outstanding performance of one of your own, Mr. Richard Kiptum who has been voted “Employee of the Month” for three continuous months. Throughout, he has been complimented by our guests for the manner in which he demonstrates professionalism in guest service.”-Hudson Luvoni, Security Manager, Villa Rosa Kempinski
For some people, the end of the year gives them an opportunity to simply celebrate and be thankful for getting through another 12 months. For others, it affords them the opportunity to take stock and reflect on their achievements and shortcomings over the past year.
At Securex, we use this time of year to celebrate our heroes and heroines who sometimes put it all on the line to make the world a better place. During the second edition of the Securex Heroes Award, Richard Kiptum, one of our security officers at the Villa Rosa Kempinski, was recognized and presented with the “Hard Work Award” after his diligence earned him “Employee of the Month” for three months in a row at the hotel. Richard’s career is an inspiring story of how one can go from the depths of despair, to becoming a true asset, not just for the Securex family, but for the private security industry in Kenya.
Richard joined Securex in 2010 and has worked high-profile assignments throughout his time with the company, starting out at Westgate Mall, where he worked for three and a half years, before he was posted at the Hotel Intercontinental. He spent one and a half years there before being assigned to the Villa Rosa Kempinski.
“I have earned a Certificate of Recognition for good service at every assignment that I have been posted to since I joined Securex. I got one at Westgate and the Intercontinental Hotel, and I already have two in my time at the Villa Rosa Kempinski,” he said.
While he may be earning recognition today (and rightfully so), Richard admits that he came close to quitting his job three years ago. On September 21st, 2013, four heavily armed men invaded Westgate Mall, killing 67 and injuring hundreds in what remains one of the worst terror attacks in Kenya’s history. Somalia-based extremist group Al Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack. Unfortunately for Richard, he found himself front and centre in the war on terror, nearly becoming nothing more than a statistic in one of Kenya’s darkest moments.
“Since we were in the basement, when we heard the first gunshots ring out, we initially thought they were thieves. After we realised what was going on, we managed to evacuate around ten people before we got trapped. I had to hide inside a dustbin for six hours.”
The aftermath of the attack was a particularly difficult period for Richard to get through. The tragedy hit home for him especially since he lost a colleague during the attack, pushing him to reconsider his career path entirely.
“It was so traumatizing. I was on the verge of resigning after the Westgate attack, but my brother, who is a police officer, encouraged me not to give up on my passion. We were also taken through many counselling sessions by the company, which really helped us pull through that difficult period.”
Richard bounced back to his stellar levels of service after being reassigned to the Intercontinental Hotel. His performance soon earned him not just praise, but a couple of trips to the State House as well!
“While I was at the Intercontinental, we once had an assignment providing catering services for a presidential function at State House. I was proud to have been part of the security detail at State House and I have actually been there once more since then.”
Richard remains firmly grounded despite the accolades he has earned, giving credit to the Securex family for the training and exposure that he has received during his time at the company. He’s also quick to note that the company has been instrumental in helping him provide a good life for his family.
“With the company’s support, I have been able to educate my wife, who is now a primary school teacher. I have also managed to educate my three children, with my first-born sitting for his K.C.P.E exams next year.”
As a parting shot, we asked Richard what advice he’d give a young guard coming through the ranks at Securex.
“You have to love your work and give your career undivided attention. We’re no longer just ‘watchmen,’ because guarding is now a profession. Through our individual efforts, we continue to raise the bar for security provision, not just within Securex, but in the country.”