Spend a little time with Randy Broadway and you’ll quickly find out how much he likes to joke around. At a logging site, he likes to keep things light-hearted, but he also is serious about his business because he knows it’s not just about him.
That joyful attitude, dedication to doing good work and the will to help others through a giving spirit has culminated into Broadway and his company, R&B Logging, being selected Outstanding Louisiana Logger for 2021.
The Provencal Master Logger has been in business for a quarter century, but before then he was working logging jobs for other logging companies. It’s a profession he’s loved for many years.
“I just enjoy going out in the woods,” Broadway said. “You feel like you’re free.”
Bruce Colclasure, production manager for Walsh Timber Co., said he enjoys working with R&B Logging. It’s a family operation typically fun to work with on any job.
“They do an excellent job on big timber but they clearcut, any type of job, really,” Colclasure said. “They’re a pretty diverse kind of operation.”
Tom Leone agrees. Leone hauls wood for the Broadways through a contract hauler. He went to work for R&B Logging when they had trucks 16 years ago. After trucking costs led to the use of contract trucks, Leone continues to haul for the Broadways through the contractor. He’s 83 and has no plans to quit now.
Randy works with two of his brothers, Terry, who operates the feller, and Gary, known as “Boo-Boo,” who is also co-owner of R&B Logging.
Like most loggers, Randy is in the woods when the sun rises, a sight he especially loves about his job. Another aspect of his job that makes it enjoyable is working with family, he said.
“It’s good to have brothers to work with you,” Broadway said. “Sometimes you have problems, but we work them out.”
Terry Broadway said he has been in the woods since he was 10. He’s 63 now. For the past 11 years, he’s worked with his brother after working for other loggers in the area. He said he enjoys it.
“If something comes up, I can take care of it,” Terry said. “I know what I have to do every day.”
Sometimes taking care of things means taking care of himself. Terry said he has diabetes and had a difficult time fighting through the coronavirus. His brother allowed him to take the time he needed to get well.
“I’d do anything for my brothers,” Terry said, “and I know they’d do anything for me.”
That doesn’t mean each won’t dish out ribbing and joking with each other. Randy Broadway said you have to be prepared for it.
“They love picking on each other — not only them, but I pick on them, too — especially if they think they have something on you, they’ll pick with you about it,” Randy said. “That just makes the day go better.”
The three Broadways have had quite some time learning to work with each other, Randy Broadway said. They did it growing up with three other brothers. In addition to working together, each knows what’s happening with the others’ families.
“We talk about everything going on in your family,” he said.
Some things that are good for siblings to talk about, however, are also difficult. The day Broadway was interviewed for this story was the day his father, Peter Broadway Jr., known to everyone as “Junior,” was gravely ill. In the mornings preceding the elder Broadway’s death Randy Broadway would talk with his brother Terry as they rode to work. At the logging site, “Boo-Boo” joined in the conversation and all three shared memories of their father or how he might have been that day.
“Sometimes it’s hard to talk about your dad, like he had a rough night last night,” Broadway said.
That night, Junior Broadway passed from this world.
Family, however, is also what keeps R&B Logging going. Randy’s wife, Becky, runs the office.
“Our office is set up in our home, so I do the office work in our home,” Becky Broadway said.
But she’s not alone. The couple’s daughter Shanna helps her mom with the necessary duties to keep a small business going.
“You’d normally think a small business doesn’t take that much to operate, but you’d be surprised by what it does take, and everything you have to keep up to date,” she said.
Shanna helps out with payroll or “whatever else Daddy needs me to do.” Before working in the family business, she was a registered nurse.
“(Working in the family business) helps me to be with my children,” Shanna said, adding that her sister Hannah also helps out.
The Broadways are quick to admit that the logging industry has its ups and downs, just like most industries. But the family has risen to the challenge and are thankful for what logging has allowed them to accomplish. They fully understand that the business isn’t just about the Broadways.
“If you’re just looking for yourself, you just as soon hang it up because logging is for everybody,” Randy Broadway said. “You look down the line, you’ve got seven or eight families you’re helping. They’re making a living, too. I thank the Lord He can provide for them and help them out.”
Broadway’s generosity is one of the things Shanna admires about her father.
Shanna also admires her father’s ability to look at things positively, like the time their Becky needed a new liver. The family rallied around the matriarch and Shanna was to donate part of her liver to her mom. While going through tests to determine if she would be a suitable donor, the younger Broadway learned she was pregnant. That meant she could not help to save her mother’s life.
Randy Broadway’s faith — he is a deacon at the Provencal Free Methodist Church — and positive attitude carried his daughters through the difficult time.
“He’s always so optimistic ... I love that about him,” Shanna said. “I can always call him and he’s an encourager, no matter what is going on, he knows we can get through this.”
That encouragement lifted Shanna’s spirits. Soon, the Broadways would learn that a donor had been found and she would have to get to Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas as soon as possible. The call came on a Sunday when the Broadways were in church.
“It was a touchy situation, but the Lord provided for us and I thank Him for that,” Randy said.
A quick trip to Dallas and several hours of surgery later, Becky’s system was able to accept the organ and did very well, but that wasn’t the only medical challenge the Broadways had to work through.
“During our stay out there, we discovered my sister (Hannah) needed a kidney transplant,” Shanna said.
Another Broadway, another organ transplant and both are doing well. Six years later, they find themselves well enough to work in the logging business, and Becky is well enough to spoil her grandchildren.
“We really, really spoil them,” Becky, whose grandchildren call her Gammy, said with a broad smile.
Randy, who is called Pawpaw by his grandchildren, admits he spoils them, probably more than he has spoiled his daughter. But providing for his family isn’t the only thing he considers when it comes to sharing his blessings with others. Broadway also participates in community fundraisers and contributes to St. Jude Children’s Hospital each year.
“There’s a lot of needy people out there and I’m just thankful we can help,” he said.
As for the joking, that, too, will continue at work and home. Shanna said she has picked on her parents almost as much as they’ve picked on her.
“Poor Mama, sometimes she just gets caught in the middle,” Shanna said.
That seems to be the way it’s always been, even as the young couple was starting out. Becky recalled how Randy pulled the old, watch the coin flip on the water bottle trick. Becky ended up with a face full of water.
“And I fell for it,” Becky said. “That’s what’s bad.”
“Thank God we were married,” she said as she and Randy erupted with laughter. “If we had been dating it might have been a different outcome.”
For now, the Broadways will continue to log, to pick on each other and to be an important part of the Provencal community.