PROVO -- Jane Fox is a petite nurse with white-blond hair and, for a few minutes Tuesday afternoon, a beet-red face and tears in her eyes.
The nurse manager at the cardiovascular ICU at Utah Valley Regional Medical Center was running a staff meeting when she was pulled out for a few minutes. When she returned, one of her nurses was standing in front of the room, talking about how when he deployed with the National Guard, Fox was happy to work with his schedule. She didn't make a big deal out of it; she just rearranged people to make it work. This isn't the norm, he found when talking to other reservists, even though half of the soldiers the military has are reservists.
Accommodating reservists' training and deployment is required by law, but accommodating them nicely isn't.
"When I was telling Jane's story, I noticed it really stuck out in stark contrast to that," Lt. Shay Harding with the Utah Air National Guard said.
Once he realized how unusual his boss's cooperation with his difficult schedule was, Harding told others, who then told him to nominate her for the National Patriot Award for being that kind of employer.
This is when she turned beet red and started to cry.
"I don't know what to say," she said after the meeting.
Fox didn't have any questions about working with Harding's schedule. He tells her when he needs to be gone; she fixes it. It's doing her part for her country and her staff.
"I know this isn't out of the ordinary for her," Harding said. "That's what makes it great."
It's not like she's the only one giving either; Fox said Harding is always willing to help out when she needs, as are the other nurses, who fill the holes when Harding is gone.
"We work with him, he works with us, and it all works out," Fox said.
Retired Army Col. Dave Gunn presented the award to a surprised Fox in front of two dozen staffers, her husband, daughter and two grandchildren. All gave her a standing ovation; a couple gave her a hug.
"You guys are my family," Fox told the crowd.