When Daniel Osborne asked his boss to help his National Guard unit, Robert White didn’t give it a second thought.
White, EMS community relations coordinator at Piedmont Medical Center, assembled medical supplies for the 430th Engineer Fire-Fighting Team of the N.C. Army National Guard to use for training.
The 430th’s principal job is fighting fires, but its members also serve as medics.
On Monday, in the lobby of the hospital’s women’s tower, White’s generosity and commitment to helping those in need were not second thoughts as he was given the Patriot Award from the Department of Defense.
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“Robert is always helping you out, whether it’s on the job or in the community,” said Osborne, a sergeant in the 430th and an emergency room technician who also works on PMC’s ambulances. “It’s nice to give something back to him.”
The award was presented by the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve office at the Department of Defense, which recognizes employers committed to assisting employees who serve in the National Guard or Reserve.
“I’m shocked,” White said. “This is not about what I’ve done, but what PMC has done.”
Dr. Perry C. Hopkins, state vice chairman of the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve and a 44-year veteran of military and civil service, presented the award to White.
“There is a sense of honor in receiving it and in presenting it,” Hopkins said. “Few people receive it.”
The Patriot Award goes to people who support “our nation,” he said, but in White’s case, it’s also for his commitment to “serving other people.”
The award means more to him, White said, given his own military background. He served in the Navy from 1982 to 1986, working as a radioman 2nd class aboard the USS Saratoga aircraft carrier. He then served three years in the Reserves. Two years after leaving active service, he went to work for Piedmont.