One of River Region’s nursing directors honored for her support of the Army National Guard and Reserves

Published 9:42 am Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Jenny Miller is a true patriot.

The nursing director for one of Merit Health River Region’s medical/surgical floors, it’s her job to make sure there is sufficient staff to observe and care for patients who have undergone surgery earlier in the day. And according to Mary Vernon, one of her former nurses, she has an appreciation for citizen soldiers.

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Vernon should know. Now marketing director of education and employee health for Merit Health, she is also a major in the U.S. Army Reserve’s 412th Theater Engineering Command, where she is on the unit’s medical advisory staff, and her reserve duties require her to periodically leave her civilian position and don a uniform for training.

And Miller’s efforts dealing with the requirements of that dual role, plus her appreciation of Vernon’s military service, made an impression on Vernon, who nominated Miller for the Patriot Award presented by Employer Support for the Guard and Reserve, which was presented to Miller Monday morning at a brief ceremony at the hospital.

The award honors employers and supervisors who make efforts to accommodate the military needs of employees who are in the National Guard or a reserve military unit and enable them to serve with their units.

“We both started about the same time,” Vernon said. “And as soon as I started, I had to start handing her military orders.”

That, she said, was a challenge, because Miller had to deal with moving and reassigning other nurses to fill the spot left by Vernon when she went on military duty to ensure there was enough staff to properly cover the floor.

“Every time I handed her military orders, she always was ‘thank you for your service,’ which really was me saying thank you for your support when I go on military orders. She was always very positive and very supportive, and over all the years I’ve been in the military — which is 20 years — she’s been the most positive supervisor I’ve ever had.”

Miller called the award a tremendous honor, and said Vernon “is a fabulous nurse and anything to support her.”

“We are so very proud of Jenny and her efforts to support our service men and women,” said Ben Richaud, interim hospital chief executive officer. “ This is another exampled of her leadership and how fortunate we are to have her as a director at our hospital.

“Additionally, we’re very proud of Mary and thankful for her help in recognizing Jenny and her efforts.”

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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