McLean Hospital’s Karen Slifka, RN, MS, CS, of Newton, was recently presented with the Patriot Award by the Employer Support for the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), a leading advocate within the Department of Defense. The award recognizes Slifka for her continued support of McLean staff who also serve in the National Guard or Reserve.
Walkerson Bastia, a mental health specialist at McLean, nominated Slifka. He has served three tours in Iraq as a member of the Army National Guard and has appreciated Slifka’s steadfast support of his service. “Karen cares and understands the sacrifice of our service men and women,” said Bastia, whose enlistment in the Guard requires him to serve one weekend a month and three to five weeks each summer.
Slifka, director of the Community Reintegration Unit at McLean, has negotiated Bastia’s balance between work and service for the past three years. “I was very impressed with Walker and wanted to offer him a full-time position, so I agreed to work around his commitment to the National Guard,” she said.
As a team leader in the National Guard, Bastia himself has to deal with employer-related issues with soldiers under his command. “[The employer-related issues on my team] alone are the very reason I am thankful to have Karen as my boss.”
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