TMC Recognized for Supporting Nurse in Naval Reserves

Bennie “Jon” Sumner, a registered nurse at Tucson Medical Center, wasn’t able to attend an awards ceremony to thank his supervisor for her support of his service in the Naval Reserve Nurse Corps.

Sumner is on the USS Mercy, a floating hospital with four operating rooms and 500 beds, working in developing countries, including Indonesia and the Philippines.

He’s delivering babies and doing prenatal care, while helping residents there fight back from cholera, dysentery and polio.

Sumner nominated Peggy MacMacken, the associate administrator for clinical practice, for her support, noting she not only came to his commissioning ceremony, but also gave him the day off to represent the Navy Operational Support Center at the governor’s State of the State Address in Tucson.

Bruce Hamilton, a program support technician with the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, a Department of Defense agency, said it’s important that employers support Guard and Reserve members. Aside from the fact federal law protects those serving in the military, Hamilton noted that Guard and Reserve members make up roughly 50 percent of the military force now.

The big concern for service members, he said, is losing a job. “It means a lot to them to know that their job is secure and they can walk right back in,” Hamilton said, adding three percent of employers in Arizona have Guard and Reserves members working for them.

Although Hamilton said it’s smart to hire Guard and Reserve members, given their leadership skills, their worldwide perspectives and their fitness for duty, some have faced some discrimination because of their weekend drills and deployments. “When you find employers like this who are supportive, we want to come out and thank them,” he said.

Commander Ross “Rusty” Orvik said Sumner is serving an important role. “He will come back with stories about the lives he’s saved and the difference he’s made.”

MacMacken, whose staff dubbed her “Admiral for a Day” and gave her “bars” for her shoulders, called the award a tremendous honor.

“Supporting our troops is very consistent with our values at TMC, from community to dedication,” she said.

The agency has had previous experience with TMC. In April, the hospital was presented with the Seven Seals Award, an award that recognizes efforts by a citizen, business or organization to support the troops.

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