Patriot Award goes to leader who supports the military man on her team

With her help, he manages an OR and a career in the Navy Reserve.

It started like any normal day for Carol Machemer, who oversees the operating room at St. Joseph's Hospital in St. Paul. Little did she know that someone was planning a surprise.

That afternoon, one of her employees arrived in his Navy Reserve uniform to honor Carol with the Patriot Award from the U.S. Defense Department.

“I have been in the Navy for 26 years and with St. Joseph’s for only one year,” says Donnie Graening, an OR manager. “But in that time, Carol has been nothing but understanding and accommodating when it comes to my drill schedule. She has a definite appreciation for the Armed Forces and ensures that I have whatever time is needed for duty.”

Donnie nominated her to the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve committee, which was started in 1972 to build supportive work cultures for  those who serve in the military.

“Support starts at the top,” says ESGR volunteer John Kingrey, presenting Carol with a certificate and lapel pin on behalf of the Secretary of Defense. “Many employers share their employees with our nation. Donnie used the word ‘phenomenal’ to describe your support.”

As the lead perioperative nurse and also second in command for his unit in Fargo, ND, Donnie needed to be away from work multiple times last year. With an enlightened boss, that wasn't an issue.

“There is a great partnership between us,” Carol says. ”We learn a lot from him, and I’m privileged to support the time he gives to the military.”

Fairview covers reservists up to 10 days a year with pay while they are on orders and has a proud history of recruiting military veterans through job fairs, speaking on panels and posting jobs on military sites.

If you know a member of the Guard or Reserve who’s looking for a supportive workplace, encourage them to apply here.

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