TMC Honored for its Work to Support Guard and Reserve Employees

Tucson Medical Center was recently honored with an award for the work it does to support its Guard and Reserve employees.

Melisa Glass, a nurse in the neurology department, nominated Tucson Medical Center for the 2012 Freedom Award. The Freedom Award was instituted in 1996 to recognize employer support of Guard and Reserve members, who make up almost 50 percent of the U.S. military.

TMC was one of 53 employers throughout Arizona nominated for the award, which is presented by the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, a Department of Defense agency.

Although TMC wasn’t one of the three ultimate finalists, the hospital was presented in late April with the Seven Seals Award, an award that recognizes efforts by a citizen, business or organization to support the troops.

Glass, 42, said her manager, Michael Lally, has been very accommodating of her schedule. “Last year was a rough year, with last-minute notifications that I was going somewhere,” said Glass, who has served three years. The stints ranged from a couple weeks to a month at a time, she said, and through it all, Lally “was just really understanding and cared about making sure everything was resolved.”

Glass said serving is important to her. “As a nurse, I want to serve soldiers, to give back what they give us.”

Lally, who said he appreciated the nomination, added military members protect America. “They’re out there keeping us safe and that’s what’s most important,” he said.

Jennifer de Laix, the compensation manager in human resources, agreed. “It is an honor to be nominated for this award and recognized for what we do to support our troops. TMC is proud of our staff members who serve our country.”

Beth Sherman, a public affairs officer in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, said employer support enhances retention rates in the Armed Forces, and by extension, strengthens national security.

“Just being nominated is an honor,” she said.

Bruce Hamilton, a program support technician with the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, said aside from the fact the law that protects service members, employing them is a smart move.

“They have leadership skills and a worldwide perspective. They’re up on current affairs. They’re drug free, physically fit and able to multitask,” he said. “We know that because they’re already working a civilian job while spending one weekend out of the month supporting a military career. And they’re expected to know every bit as much as their active duty counterpart.”

Hamilton said support can range anywhere from employers offering military leave to holding an annual veteran recognition luncheon. Some have put up on “honor wall,” with photographs of employees who serve. Others have started support systems in which staff members step in to check on spouses and to ferry kids to ballgames, for example, while a parent is deployed.

“We all know that our service members serve, and their spouses and families serve,” Hamilton said. “But with some of these folks gone a year on average, it’s clear their employers serve as well. In many ways, we all serve.”

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Tucson Medical Center | 5301 E. Grant Road | Tucson, Arizona 85712 | (520) 327-5461
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