A drive to make a difference through service is a common trait shared by staff members at PAH. As if promoting the health and well-being of patients wasn’t enough, many employees also give back by volunteering in the community and even serving in the military. Balancing these different forms of service can be tough, but with supportive colleagues, staff have shown just how much they can accomplish.

Phil Motley, a Gastroenterology medical assistant for the Clinical Practices of the University of Pennsylvania (CPUP) at PAH, has served in the United States Army Reserves for 20 years as an infantryman, Stryker vehicle commander, and combat lifesaver. He was deployed during Operation Iraqi Freedom and the Hurricane Katrina relief efforts, and he will be retiring as a Sergeant this year. Throughout his Penn career, Motley was able to continue his military service with the backing of his colleagues and supervisor, Bernadette Muccie, Gastroenterology practice manager.

“Bernadette has always been a great supervisor. Last-minute schedule changes could really be a problem for me, and she has always accommodated me,” Motley said. “She even threw me going-away and coming-home parties, and the team sent me a care package while I was in Iraq. I really appreciate all she has done and how understanding she has been, so I nominated her for a Patriot Award.”

The Patriot Award is an honor granted by the Department of Defense’s Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve program. It recognizes supervisors who remove barriers to military service by offering flexible scheduling, time off before and after deployment, and other supports.

“I was shocked when I heard that I’d been nominated. I’m so humbled. I never viewed it as ‘going above and beyond’ — Phil is protecting our country and our patients, and it was important to me to support him however I could,” Muccie said. “Our department has a great family atmosphere, so it means so much to be recognized by my colleagues. It blows me away.”

Unbeknownst to Motley, as soon as Muccie learned about the award, she was determined to share the spotlight with him and reached out to Paula Crawford-Gamble, CRNP, CAPT, NC, USN (Ret), Penn’s Veterans Care Concierge liaison. After Muccie was presented with the Patriot Award by Major General Wesley E. Craig, 51st Adjutant General of Pennsylvania and commander of the Pennsylvania National Guard, Motley was surprised with his own honorary certificate for service from Penn.

“It’s really important to the Veterans Care Excellence Program (VCEP) to honor our veterans and those who continue to serve in the military. The mission of VCEP is serving those who serve. The ceremony offered the chance to show our appreciation for Phil and to celebrate Bernadette, and the outpouring of support from the staff was phenomenal,” said Crawford-Gamble.

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