When Cardinal Glennon cook Tracey Ahrens deployed to Afghanistan in September 2008, she thought the exceptional support—and sendoff party—from her bosses was something special. So did the U.S. Department of Defense.
Matt Sedor and Keith Starry were both presented with the Patriot Award by the Missouri branch of the National Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, a U.S. Department of Defense agency created to foster cooperation between employers and their National Guard and Reserve employees.
Ahrens had no shortage of praise for Sedor, director of INTERSERV and ARAMARK general manager; and Starry, Nutrition Services director at Cardinal Glennon and ARAMARK.
"I was given the best send-off from my friends at Glennon," Ahrens said. "We celebrated ‘Tracey day’ by wearing camouflage bandanas and balloons, G.I. Joe water tattoos and dog tags. The best part was the cake with a picture of me in ‘full battle rattle’ on it. They invited my family to enjoy the send-off as well."
Before Ahrens was deployed, her bosses made sure she had time off to spend with her husband. And when she came back to Glennon, she discovered that she had been promoted.
"Cardinal Glennon, Matt and Keith have been very good to me and that has enabled me to do a better job in my military career and my position here at Cardinal Glennon," Ahrens said.
Karen Fishman, ESGR awards committee member and clinical nurse in Child Protection and Gynecology, said Patriot Award winners like Starry and Sedor have the potential to be chosen for one of five national awards. Fishman acknowledged the obstacles that can arise for employers with deployed employees.
"The loss of even one employee during deployment can increase the workload and add pressure to the remaining staff," Fishman said. "Tracey kept many of us informed and even entertained by maintaining email contact while deployed. We are very proud to have her as a member of our Glennon family and team."