Hope & Healing: The UF Health Blog

The Perfect Balance of Employment and Deployment

This Veterans Day, we honor not only our veterans, but also those who allow their military and civilian careers to develop together. The Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve sponsors a series of awards to commemorate these allies, including the Patriot Award. This recognition honors supervisors of employees serving in the National Guard or Reserve for their ongoing support during activations and training.

Left to right: Tim Lambert, ESGR Florida vice chair, Mark Thomas, ShandsCair operations manager, and Michael Johnson, ShandsCair ground medic.

Michael Johnson, a ground medic on the UF Health ShandsCair team, serves as a flight medic in C Co (AA) 1-111th REGT GSAB out of Jacksonville, Florida. He began working at ShandsCair about a year and a half ago, and was met by strong support for his military duties. Johnson nominated his supervisor, Mark Thomas, B.S.N., R.N., EMT-P, the UF Health ShandsCair operations manager, for the Patriot Award. Johnson said it was in appreciation for Thomas’ encouragement and for his acceptance of Johnson’s commitment to both roles.

“Mark Thomas has been consistently supportive of me as I fulfill my military obligations in the Army National Guard,” Johnson said. “There’s been a couple things that have popped up over the past year unexpectedly, and he’s the first boss I’ve had who right off the bat told me to go ahead and take care of it without any pushback.”

Whether it’s taking Johnson off the schedule when he receives last-minute orders or remaining in contact with Army leadership to get documentation squared away, Thomas continues to have Johnson’s back. He had no idea he was being nominated, and was completely blindsided when he learned he had won the award.

“I was very honored,” Thomas said. “I want to stress that this should be a unit citation because it’s not just me helping out. It’s all his co-workers and the team supporting him.”

The Employer Support of the Guard Reserve sent a representative, Tim Lambert, to present the award to Thomas in the form of a certificate and accompanying lapel pin. The presentation was held on Nov. 5, just in time for Veterans Day.

About the Author

Devin Nori's picture

Devin Nori

Summer/Fall Marketing Intern

Devin Nori is a fourth-year advertising major with a concentration in psychology at the University of Florida. Originally, Devin is from Orlando, Florida, where she served as a Communications Intern...Read More