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Miami VA Healthcare System

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Miami VA Employee Receives Patriot Award

 Neville Shorter, ESGR’s Miami representative, second from left, presented the Patriot Award to Schafer, second from right, Feb. 13.

Neville Shorter, ESGR’s Miami representative, second from left, presented the Patriot Award to Marie Schafer, second from right, at the Bruce W. Carter VA Medical Center Feb. 13.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

The Miami VA Healthcare System employees not only care for America’s heroes after military service; they also support the men and women who are actively serving. Marie Schafer, Telehealth program nurse manager, was awarded the Service Member Patriot Award by Employer Support of The Guard & Reserve (ESGR) at the Bruce W. Carter VA Medical Center Feb. 13.

The ESGR’s Patriot Award is presented to supervisors who demonstrate exceptional support for National Guardsmen and Reservists before, during and after deployments. Joseph Thames, My HealtheVet coordinator and Army Reservist, nominated Schafer for the award in November for her help during his military deployment.

“Around Thanksgiving I received orders to deploy in 30 days,” Thames said. “I immediately emailed Marie, even though she was out of the country on vacation. She responded quickly to assure me another staff member would take over my duties during my absence, and that I would have my job when I returned.  Before I left she even arranged a going-away celebration. Marie is an example of how supervisors should support their employees who serve our country."

Schafer smiling with other Miami VA staff and Thames holding a cake.

Schafer organized a surprise going-away celebration for Thames, holding cake, on Dec. 3 at the Bruce W. Carter VA Medical.

While Schafer was honored to receive the award, she said her main concern was for Thames and his family. 

“Deployments are stressful on Servicemembers and their families,” Schafer said. “I wanted to help ease some of Joseph’s worries about work, so he could focus on preparing himself and his family. One of the great things about working with Veterans is that we see firsthand some of the unique circumstances they face. While I’m honored to receive this award, it’s also gratifying to help a Soldier who is serving his country.”

The Miami VA Healthcare System connects combat Veterans with patient-centered health care and support services.  For information visit www.miami.va.gov/services/returning.

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