How does military service provide unique training for global health work?

Guest contributor Katelyn Creech is a communications assistant at PATH.

Nate Sanders, wearing US Army fatigues, stands in front of a sand-colored wall.

Nate Sanders’ Army Reserve unit was deployed to Kuwait soon after he started a new job with PATH. Photo: courtesy of Nate Sanders.

In November 2013, Nathaniel “Nate” Sanders started a new job at PATH making sure our facilities in Seattle run smoothly. Just a few months later, his Army Reserve unit was called into service.

“I am currently deployed in Kuwait with the 595th Transportation Brigade in support of Operation New Dawn and the withdrawal of troops, trucks, and equipment from Afghanistan,” Nate explained via email from overseas. “I will be deployed for one year total with nine months here in Kuwait.”

When he returns, says his PATH Performance Leader Mary Cooke, his job will be waiting for him.

Outstanding patriotic support

Mary, our global facilities team leader, recently was honored with a Patriot Award from Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), an agency of the Department of Defense. The award recognizes individuals who “provide outstanding patriotic support, leadership, and cooperation to their employees, who like the citizen warriors before them, have answered their nation’s call to serve,” said John Glynn, ESGR employer outreach director in Washington State.

“Supportive supervisors and employers are critical to maintaining the strength and readiness of our nation’s National Guard and Reserve units,” he said.

Benefits to both soldier and employer

Supporting employees who are members of the National Guard and Reserve may be the right thing to do, but it also benefits PATH, our chief human resources officer Kathy O’Driscoll points out.

Mary Cooke holds a framed Patriot Award certificate.

Mary Cooke displays her Patriot Award from Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve. Photo: PATH/Patrick McKern.

“PATH is proud to provide employment opportunities to past and present members of the armed services,” she says. “We have strengthened our partnership with organizations that support veterans to ensure greater visibility of PATH job opportunities. The US military provides service members training and experience working in low-resource environments around the world. Those experiences are valuable to PATH’s work driving innovation to ensure health equity.”

“I want to thank PATH for all the support and flexibility during and prior to my deployment,” Nate told us from Kuwait. “The ability for me to deploy in support of the country’s mission and to have the support of PATH is unparalleled and greatly appreciated.”

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