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Penn State Health employees receive Service Member Patriot Award

Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) presented two employees from Penn State Health Hampden Medical Center with awards for their support of an Army National Guard employee. A U.S. Department of Defense program, ESGR works to promote cooperation and understanding between service members and their civilian employers.

Craig Blattenberger, manager of Hampden Medical Center’s Facilities Department, and Jesse Myers, regional director of facility operations at the medical center, received the Patriot Award. They were nominated by Caleb Holley, a heating and air conditioning mechanic in Hampden Medical Center’s Facilities Department and an Army National Guard Cavalry Scout.

Holley presented the awards to Blattenberger and Myers during Penn State Health’s West Shore Region leadership meeting in December, saying they are always flexible with scheduling around his National Guard duties.

The Patriot Award recognizes a supervisor’s efforts to support citizen warriors through measures such as flexible schedules, time off before and after deployment, caring for families and granting leaves of absence, if needed. 

Supporting our military and veterans

Penn State Health established military/veteran Business Employee Resource Groups (BERGs) throughout the regions it serves to foster engagement and create community for its members.

These BERGs host and participate in annual events and work to improve support for employees and patients who have or are currently serving in the military. Upcoming initiatives include a pilot Veterans 2 Veterans program, in which health system employees who have served will have an opportunity to support inpatients who also have military and veteran backgrounds.

“Penn State Health has a diverse workforce, which we should intentionally include and elevate,” said Jude McCrea, program manager for diverse employee engagement in the Office for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. “Opportunities include promoting understanding of individual needs, recognizing contributions, creating a positive culture and supporting our veterans as a regular practice.”

Additional honors for military and veterans support

In 2023, Penn State Health CEO Steve Massini accepted the ESGR Above and Beyond Award on behalf of Penn State Health. The award honored the health system for actively promoting the hiring of military members and recognizing their valuable experience and dedication. Duane Nieves, operations manager of Life Lion West Shore, and Kevin Dalpiaz, Life Lion West Shore emergency medical services supervisor, also received the Seven Seals Award for Life Lion LLC’s strong support of ESGR’s mission.

The health system has been recognized as a veteran-friendly organization at both the state and national level. In addition to the awards from ESGR, Military Times named Penn State Health to its 2022 Best for Vets: Employers list for the second year in a row. The award honors organizations for programs and policies that support veterans’ post-military careers.

To learn more about the military/veteran BERGs or other resource groups at Penn State Health, contact Jude McCrea.

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