Highland News Leader
It is not uncommon to find retirees who volunteer to enhance their community. It is, however, relatively rare to find a young couple who use their energy, efforts and emotions to better the lives of those facing overwhelming obstacles.
Brian and Teffy Beard — owners of Railshake, a restaurant/bar located at 504 Walnut St. in Highland — have made it their business to dig into their hometown community to lend a helping hand in a variety of venues. And they do this as a team. And what could be more meritorious than lending assistance to children with cancer?
Most Highland residents are familiar with Leaps of Love, Inc. — or LOL — founded in 2010 by Tracy Riechmann. This organization embraces families affected by childhood brain tumors and late effects of childhood cancer by providing resources of hope, strength and encouragement to meet the challenges they face during their battle against this disease and its long-term effects.
But not only is the patient given special attention, the entire family receives much-needed support. This includes retreats for parents, caregivers, siblings and extended family. Oftentimes, those closest to the patient, who provide medical and personal care for the afflicted family member, forgets or is unable to take needed time for themselves.
LOL is conscious of this and endeavors to assist the entire family long term. One of their most lucrative fundraising events is the annual “Nights at the Races,” which took place Aug. 3 at Highland Speedway. The Beards remain an integral part of this event, which included a scavenger hunt, frog races, food, beverages and car races.
Brian also was nominated by the LOL committee to hang up his he-man persona for one day to dress as a lady in order to promote a worthy cause in the Leaps of Love “Ms. L.O.L. Pageant 2019” in May. His contestant name was Brian “Breyonce’” Beard, as he and 11 fellow businessmen competed in the event to help fight childhood cancer.
But this is nothing new to him. Brian also dons an Easter Bunny costume every year as he and Teffy go to St. Louis Children’s Hospital to visit with and bring goodies to every single child.
But there is more. Thanksgiving and Christmas find the duo providing and preparing complete holiday dinners with all the trimmings for families in need right there in the confines of their business, Railshake. Teffy was quick to inform, “It’s not just Brian and me doing this; our entire staff volunteers and we create an assembly line to make this massive project come to fruition.”
Beards first meet in 1999
Brian was born Dec. 15, 1978, to Ronnie Beard and Debbie Sigorino; he is the eldest of four brothers. Teffy made her debut June 13, 1983, and was the youngest of three sisters born to Ron and Chrystal Dicus. Both were born and raised in Highland and met each other through mutual friends about 1999.
Brian readily acknowledges he had to put forth quite a bit of effort to catch Teffy’s attention.
“I literally chased her,” he quipped. “I was drawn to her laughter and her smile and the way that she goes out of her way to help other people.”
Teffy said she knew early on she wanted to lead a life which included service to others and wanted to ultimately marry someone who had those same desires. They dated for seven years and then married.
Ultimately they became parents of one daughter, Tegan, who recently turned 16. They also purchased the antiquated personality-laden structure known as Railshake, which has been standing since 1856. Their menu touts Railshake “Is a local favorite with the style all of its own, serving made-from-scratch recipes and sauces along with locally sourced steaks that are hand cut in-house.”
Teffy diagnosed with BAM
Other charitable activities to which they contribute on a regular basis is Stuff the Bus, Shop With a Cop and Kids in Need. But for right now, both admit they may have to slow down a bit. Teffy has not been feeling her usual energetic self for the past two years and only recently received a diagnosis: Bile Acid Malabsorption, or BAM.
According to Mayo Clinic, which is where Brian has been taking Teffy in Rochester, Minnesota, for the past couple of months, BAM is “a condition that occurs when your intestines can’t absorb bile acids properly. This results in extra bile acids in your intestines, which can cause watery stools. Bile is a natural fluid your body makes in the liver. It’s necessary for proper digestion. Bile contains acids, proteins, salts and other products. The common bile duct moves it from your liver to your gallbladder, where it’s stored until you eat. When you eat, your gallbladder contracts and releases this bile into your stomach. Once the bile is in your stomach and small intestines, the acids in the bile help break down food and nutrients so your body can absorb them efficiently. From time to time, the bile acids aren’t reabsorbed properly, leading to BAM.”
While there seems to be no clear-cut explanation for the cause of BAM, it can be speculated no one, especially someone as young as Teffy, would want to deal with such a malady. However, it is treatable and that is the path the Beards are pursuing.
Brian said, “I pray every morning and every night for my wife. I know God won’t put more on you than you can handle.”
Of their combined volunteer activities, they echoed, “helping others makes your day and gives you purpose outside of yourself. We want to always help others when we can; it’s good for your soul.”