President of MercyOne Eastern Iowa, Kay Takes, has won the Employer Support of The Guard and Reserve (ESGR) Patriot Award, after being nominated for her commitment to supporting military and veteran colleagues.

The award recognizes supervisors nominated by a Guardsman or Reservist employee for support provided directly to the nominator, according to a MercyOne release Monday.

Captain Allison Mass, Army reservist and psychiatric nurse at MercyOne, nominated Takes for the honor.

“The CEO of the hospital I am employed at not only has the utmost honor and respect for employees that are service members and veterans but for the community as well,” Mass said in Monday’s release.

“She has taken the initiative to go above and beyond with her passion for service members and veterans through being instrumental in an initiative that is called MercyOne Military and Veterans Health Care.

Kay Takes signs a commitment letter on behalf of MercyOne Dubuque Medical Center to the ESGR, a Department of Defense office, which promotes cooperation and understanding between reserve component service members and their civilian employers.

“This prepares staff to provide high quality, compassionate and culturally competent care, with honor to everyone who is either a veteran or service member,” Mass said. “Kay passionately advocates for service members and veterans to make sure that staff is trained to better respond to health concerns and challenges that are unique to the military community.”

Iowa ESGR Director of Military Outreach, Rick Ernst, surprised Takes with the award.

“I am deeply humbled by this award,” she said in the release. “As employers and health care providers, we can’t just talk about our commitment to veterans and individuals serving in the military, we have to act on it. Through MercyOne Military and Veterans Health Care, we have systems in place to allow us to identify and get to know veterans and military service personnel so we are better equipped to meet their unique health care needs.

“We owe it to them to create an environment that honors their service and sacrifice,” Takes said.

She also signed a commitment letter on behalf of MercyOne Dubuque Medical Center to the ESGR, a Department of Defense office, which promotes cooperation and understanding between reserve component service members and their civilian employers and to help resolve conflicts arising from an employee’s military commitment.