By Edwin Wriston
| Jan. 8, 2021
Dr. Raheel Khan and Mrs. Tammy Midkiff of the Pediatric Department of WVU Health Sciences Division pose with Maj. John Bishra and Maj. Neil Copeland, physicians assigned to the 130th Airlift Wing, after receiving the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) Patriot Award during a ceremony held Jan. 8, 2021, at McLaughlin Air National Guard Base, Charleston, West Virginia. The Patriot Award recognizes supervisors and bosses nominated by a Guardsman or Reservist employee for the support provided directly to them. ( U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Eugene Crist ) (Photo by Master Sgt. Eugene Crist)
Maj. Neil Copeland ( center ), a Flight Surgeon assigned to the 130th Airlift Wing, speaks during an Employer Support of The Guard and Reserve’s (ESGR) Patriot Award ceremony held Jan. 8, 2021, at McLaughlin Air National Guard Base, Charleston, West Virginia. The Patriot Award recognizes supervisors and bosses nominated by a Guardsman or Reservist employee for the support provided directly to the nominator. ( U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Eugene Crist ) (Photo by Master Sgt. Eugene Crist)
Dr. Raheel Khan and Mrs. Tammy Midkiff of the Pediatric Department of WVU Health Sciences Division, Charleston, have been awarded the Employer Support of The Guard and Reserve’s prestigious Patriot Award, Jan. 8, 2021, in Charleston, W.Va.
ESGR, a Department of Defense program, was established in 1972 to promote cooperation and understanding between Reserve Component Service members and their civilian employers and to assist in the resolution of conflicts arising from an employee's military commitment. 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.
Since February of 2020, Dr. Khan and Mrs. Midkiff have supported the military service of their employees, Majs. Neil Copeland and John Bishara, members of the West Virginia National Guard who were activated to State Active Duty supporting the state response to the COVID 19 Pandemic.
“Dr. Khan and Mrs. Midkiff selflessly facilitated our ability to take a hiatus from our primary civilian roles since February to assume our roles in uniform,” stated Copeland. “They picked up the slack, covered extra shifts, and have remained rock-solid in their support of our activations. We were thrilled to nominate them for this award to recognize their sacrifices in helping us meet our military commitments.”
National Guard or Reserve servicemembers, or the spouse of a Guard or Reserve member, may nominate individual supervisors and bosses whose efforts in support of military service go above and beyond. Those nominations are then reviewed by national-level ESGR personnel, and approved nominations receive the Patriot Award.
Both Dr. Khan and Mrs. Midkiff were surprised and honored to receive the award.
"This is a total surprise,” said Khan. “These guys can keep a secret very well! I am humbled and honored. I'm very proud of the services provided by these two physicians in my department. They are doing a very important job while providing great service to the state of West Virginia and the population during the pandemic, especially now with the vaccine distribution. I'm very, very appreciative."
"I came to the ceremony with the understanding that I was bringing. Dr. Khan for his award and to surprise him,” stated Midkiff. “So needless to say, I am a little dumbfounded, but I am very pleased and excited and happy to be honored in this way. Both Majs. Copeland and Bishara are absolutely wonderful to work with and it is with great pride that I get to see them share their expertise and have such positive impact for the people of West Virginia while in uniform."
“Our One Guard family could not function nor survive without the tremendous support offered each and every day throughout our state by civilian employers,” said Brig. Gen. William Crane, Adjutant General. “The vast majority of our Guardsmen have civilian occupations and are critical parts of their civilian job teams. When our Soldiers and Airmen train, deploy, or are activated for state response like the COVID-19 pandemic, civilian employers sacrifice too. We hope that every employer knows how very much we appreciate them, and how important they are to our ability to successfully complete our missions both at home and abroad.”