UPMC East Emergency Department Team Receives DoD Patriot Award

By: Laura Swedler and Rick Pietzak

UPMC East Emergency Department Team Receives DoD Patriot AwardsOn Memorial Day, family and friends across the United States gather to celebrate and honor members of the armed services.

UPMC East supports and recognizes the members of its team who are veterans and active duty service men and women. UPMC strives to create a welcoming and accommodating workplace for National Guard and Reserve personnel and others serving in the U.S. military.

In March, members of the UPMC East Emergency Department were recognized with the Patriot Award, presented through a Department of Defense program called the Employer Support of Guard and Reserve (ESGR), for their efforts supporting advanced patient care technician and seven-year U.S. Army reservist, Juliana Drye, who was ordered to spend over a year away from her job; three months of training and nine months stationed at Guantanamo Bay as a member of the 200th Military Police Battalion.

The Patriot Award reflects the efforts made to support National Guard and Reserve personnel through a wide range of measures, including flexible schedules, time off prior to and after deployment, caring for families, and granting leaves of absence, if needed.

Drye joined the UPMC East team in 2013 when she returned from a deployment to Afghanistan. After just a few short years working at UPMC East, Drye was again called upon for another deployment. Her UPMC East colleagues and leadership rallied behind her.

After returning a year later, she stepped back into her role as an advanced patient care technician and nominated Nicole Jackson, clinician; Jessica Beall, clinician; Amy Harris, staffing coordinator; and former unit director Al Dawson from UPMC East’s Emergency Department for Patriot Awards.

The winners were recognized during a ceremony at the Soldiers and Sailors Museum in Pittsburgh. Prior to the awards dinner, Drye hosted an event at UPMC East where she shared photos of her deployment and thanked her department for their support. She presented the emergency department with a flag that had flown over her base at Guantanamo Bay on Nov. 11, 2016, for 11 minutes and 11 seconds.

“I just returned home from my second deployment and am back to work,” Drye said. “I wanted to extend my gratitude to the department and individuals that helped me during my transitions.”

She also hopes UPMC East will now be recognized for future awards from ESGR for their continued outstanding work supporting staff serving in the National Guard and Reserve.