Sulphur Armed Forces Committee members are always willing to go wherever this area's service men and women need them to be. And on May 22, Col. (Ret.) Harry Montgomery, head of the Committee, went to West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital (WCCH). He was there to present, along with Cmdr. Tammy Mitchell — a family physician working with WCCH — the Patriotic Employer award to Tressie Brunson, Director of Physician Management Services at WCCH.
This award is issued from the Secretary of Defense's Employer Support of the Guard and Reserves (ESGR) committee to, according to Montgomery, "an employer for contributing to national security and protecting liberty and freedom by supporting America's National Guard and Reserve." It specifically recognizes an individual supervisor or boss nominated by an employee serving in the National Guard or Reserve.
"We give [the chosen individual] a certificate to let them know that we appreciate what they are doing to help the National Guard and Reserve through the support of their Guard or Reserve employees," continued Montgomery.
Mayor Chris Duncan, who attended the award presentation, stated that the City of Sulphur was honored to have an employee with a local organization given such an award.
Brunson expressed her gratitude in receiving the recognition especially as it involved Dr. Mitchell, who has been a part of the WCCH team for the past year.
"I am thankful that she thought enough of me to nominate me for this award," said Brunson, with a smile.
Dr. Mitchell, a Commander in the U.S. Navy Reserves, will soon be making a first-time trip to Afghanistan. Before that, the Franklin, Louisiana-native will be spending three months in California for training. She headed out on Friday.
"I thank them for supporting me and allowing me to go off and do what I need to do for the U.S. military," said Dr. Mitchell. "I've had to take off several times to do Reserve drills and training. I did some training in Hawaii for three weeks, and they supported me in that. Recently I was in Gulfport for three weeks, and they supported me in that as well. Now I have a year-long tour overseas, and they said that I have a job when I come back if I so desired."
The only physician on the WCCH staff who is also in the Reserves, Dr. Mitchell is apparently a favorite among many people at the hospital.
"[Other] physicians, hospital employees and patients just love working with her," said Bill Hankins, WCCH CEO, "It has been nice to have Dr. Mitchell here because she has been able to fill in at various clinics. It has worked out very well for us and her and especially her patients. It has been a joy having Dr. Mitchell here over the past year."
Page 2 of 2 - Brunson echoed that sentiment.
"She is an outstanding employee," she stated enthusiastically, "Anytime we needed her to fill in at a different clinic, she was always willing to go. Patients and staff dearly love her. She is very easy to get along with and patients call for her. So many people are sad to see her go and have asked when she is coming back."
Any member of the National Guard or Reserves wishing to nominate a person for the Patriotic Employer award can do so online by visiting http://www.esgr.mil/ and following the links.