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Mercy receives Patriot Award military honor

Des Moines, Iowa -- Over the years, the Mercy Family has been blessed with dedicated staff members who are also in various branches of the United States military. As a "thank you" to Mercy for its support of those who are called to duty, the Employer Support of The Guard and Reserve presented Mercy Medical Center, Des Moines, Iowa and Tim Huffman, Manager of Perioperatrive Services, with the Patriot Award in a small ceremony at Mercy on Friday, March 5. Mercy and Huffman were nominated by Major Sally Hardy, RN, BSN, MSN, CNOR, Open Heart Surgery Nurse here at Mercy.

"The Patriot Award is a way to say thank you to my boss and employer for their patriotic support," said Major Hardy. "They allowed me to complete my military duty with support, encouragement and appreciation."

Major Hardy is in her sixth year with the Iowa National Guard 132nd Fighter Wing based in Des Moines. Her responsibility at the base is immunizations and to make sure the group is ready to deploy at a moment's notice. During the holidays, Major Hardy volunteered for a tour of duty in Iraq so a young mother--also a nurse--could be home for the holidays with her daughter and son.

"This war has lasted a long time and is exhausting our full-time military members," said Major Hardy. "Guard members need to step up and volunteer so the full-time members can have some family time. I will never forget her happiness."

While in Iraq, Major Hardy worked 12-13 hours a day, six days a week in the Intermediate Care Ward. She provided care for wounded Iraqi civilians of all ages, in addition to wounded U.S. soldiers. She said many of the patients--including the babies--had severe injuries.

"Caring for the burned Iraqi babies was physically and emotionally exhausting," said Major Hardy.

On being honored with the Patriot Award, Huffman responded "To have myself and Mercy Medical Center receive this award was a very humbling experience. From time to time we all complain about our jobs and our daily activities, yet we received an award from a person who has chosen to serve our country, be away from home and leave their friends and family. Sally is the one who deserves the Patriot award."