U.S. Air Force Veteran and Army Reservist Honors Sutter Colleagues with Patriot Award
Sutter Alhambra Surgery Center (SASC) team members are the proud recipients of the Patriot Award—a recognition given out by the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) to acknowledge supportive employers of National Guard and Reservist service members.
Ernesto Brizuela, R.N., a director of nursing at SASC, nominated his supervisor, Administrator Andrew Kim, and his colleagues for the ongoing support he receives from them while he manages his job responsibilities at SASC and serves as a U.S. Army reservist.
After serving 15 years in the Air Force, Brizuela felt ready to return civilian life, but wanted to continue serving his country. The U.S. Army Reserves provides him the opportunity to do so part time; he serves one weekend a month at a training center in South Sacramento, and several weeks each year traveling to other bases to assist with trainings.
Brizuela says it’s hard for most people to understand the challenges reserve soldiers face.
“Once a month, I report for a full weekend of training, and then return to my full-time job on Monday morning. I also have a lot of additional training and administrative responsibilities during my time off,” he said.
Brizuela’s commitment also demands sacrifice in his personal life. He says he misses spending time with his wife, children and parents, and going to church on the weekends he’s away. In March, when he deploys to Honduras to serve as a medical surgical nurse for nine months, he’ll miss his son and daughter’s high school graduation.
“When Ernesto started work at the surgery center, he shared his concerns with me around balancing his military duties with his job,” Kim says. “We are proud to support him and his commitment to the military, and have staff that help take on additional responsibilities when he’s away.”
To thank Kim and his SASC colleagues, Brizuela presented the ESGR award to his SASC team on Oct. 19.
While Kim is grateful for the recognition, he says Brizuela and others serving in the military are “the true role models.”
“Their sacrifices—and the sacrifices their families make—far exceed anything we as employers do,” said Kim.