SHERIDAN — A trio of area employers were honored Monday for supporting their employees that serve as reserve component members of the U.S. armed services.
Sheridan Memorial Hospital CEO Mike McCafferty, Big Horn Health Network Director Lynn Custis and nursing manager of the Mountain View Living Center Lance Vaughn were honored with Patriot Awards by Employer Support of Guard and Reserve.
A Department of Defense operational committee, the ESGR works to promote cooperation between service members and their civilian employers while assisting in the resolution of conflicts arising from an employee’s military commitment. A nationwide network of volunteers supports the group.
For their part, Patriot Award recipients are nominated by their employees for having been exceptionally supportive of the unique demands that come with hiring an active member of the National Guard or Reserve.
At a pair of award presentation ceremonies Monday, ESGR representatives said the three Sheridan employers demonstrated a wide array of supportive practices including a willingness to be flexible with scheduling, offering time off prior to and following deployment, watching over the service members’ families and granting leaves of absence when needed.
McCafferty and Custis were nominated by ENT physician and Naval Reserve Lt. Cmdr. Cheryl Varner.
Varner said she chose to nominate the pair for their commitment to working around her demanding military schedule.
“Whenever I need to be gone for training, they make it easy for me,” she said.
Vaughn was nominated by National Guard Captain and registered nurse Anne Marie Mann.
Mann, whose husband also serves, said Vaughn consistently displayed a willingness to help her family through the logistical hurdles associated with juggling work, family life and military service.
After receiving his award, Vaughn said that while he was honored to be recognized, he considered his flexibility more of a duty than a characteristic worthy of an award.
“It’s a heavy responsibility to be in the Reserve or Guard, and anything we can do as a community to society (to support them), we need to do,” he said.
ESGR representatives said employer support of service members improves retention rates in the armed forces and ultimately strengthens national security. The organization’s 54 state committees actively promote awards as a key element in furthering employer support while strengthening relationships between service members and their employers.