Emergency/CCU Director Earns Patriot Award

Lompoc Valley Medical Center Emergency Department and Critical Care Unit Director Lorraine Jones was recently presented with the Defense Department’s “Patriot Award,” by the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve.

The ESGR promotes cooperation and understanding between civilian employers and their National Guard and Reserve employees. The Patriot Award honors supervisors for their exceptional support of National Guard and Reserve employees by presenting them with a public acknowledgement of their support, a framed certificate of appreciation and a lapel pin. Nominations must come from a National Guard and Reserve member or a family member.

Lorraine was nominated by Emergency Department Registered Nurse Graham Fusch, a sergeant and medic in the National Guard, and an active duty veteran.

“It really is such an honor to be nominated,” Jones said. Fusch was hired in November 2017 as a Registered Nurse. He earned his RN license in July 2017 after attending Santa Barbara City College. He nominated Jones not long after he started work.

The Patriot Award reflects the efforts made to support citizen warriors 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.

When Fusch first started work, Jones recalled that he was required to leave during his orientation period to carry out his National Guard commitment. He was nervous about having to leave, she added. “I reminded him to just give us ample notice so we could accommodate him,” Jones says.

Fusch joined the National Guard in the spring of 2011, after his four-year active duty service. He’s required to do training for one weekend a month, and two weeks of battle training annually.

“She’s always been extremely flexible with military and my schedule, having to do last-minute trainings,” Fusch said. “She’s an overall great employer.” Fusch said he enjoys working in the Emergency Department because physicians work in close proximity to nurses. He also enjoys the camaraderie of staff, he said.

“There’s good people here,” he added. Fusch said he joined the military to fight terrorism and save lives, and to wear the uniform. “I didn’t want to have any regrets later in life,” said the military medic who plans to re-enlist until he reaches his 20-year service mark.

As for being a nurse, the profession drew him because he wanted to “help people and save lives.” The award was presented to Jones by World War II and Korean War veteran, Ernest S. Cowell during a short ceremony in the Emergency Department.