By CARL GREEN
Fairview Heights, IL – Laborers Local 196 Business Manager Greg Kipping has been honored by the Secretary of Defense for helping to make possible the life-saving work performed by a member of his local in the Army Reserves.
Emily Whelan, a third-generation member of Local 196, Waterloo-Columbia, who also serves in the Army Reserves as a medical operations officer in the Global Patient Movement Integration Cell of U.S. Transportation Command (TRANSCOM), based at Scott Air Force Base.
Whelan came to the Southwestern Illinois Laborers District Council’s January meeting at the Fairview Heights Elks to honor Kipping and introduce Col. John Gamby, who presented the award.
Whelan’s work for TRANSCOM is in getting patients where they need to be and when they need to be there.
“The Global Patient Movement Integration Cell that I fall under supports U.S. TRANSCOM by coordinating and maintaining global oversight of patient movement,” she told the Laborers leaders. “It conducts crisis action planning, contingency response planning and current operational support, synchronizing and coordinating patient movement. The combination of these efforts enables seamless, effective global patient movement solutions.”
She said fulfilling her role in patient movement was possible only because Kipping was willing and able to clear her schedule at the times when she was needed.
“While some reservists are lucky to be able to attend one weekend a month and two weeks in the summer, I have been able to attend 226 days of service over the past two years,” she said. “Greg has consistently gone the extra mile in balancing my requirements out of the hall and my military service. His effort has indirectly saved the lives of thousands of soldiers in our global patient movement efforts.”
With Manning’s support, she was also able to help in preparing a patient distribution plan that allows the Department of Defense to conduct large-scale patient movements.
‘EFFORTS HAVE NOT GONE UNNOTICED’
“We are here tonight to celebrate the nomination and selection of Greg Kipping as the recipient of the Secretary of Defense Patriotic Employer Award for his contribution to national security and protecting liberty and freedom by supporting employee participation in America’s Reserve force,” Whelan said in making the presentation.
“Greg’s supporting efforts have not gone unnoticed and are especially important to the medical branches of our military forces.”
SETTING THE MODEL
Whelan introduced Col. Gamby, a 24-year Reservist now a commander in TRANSCOM and a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, to present the Department of Defense Patriotic Employer Award. He is also a construction supervisor for Ameren.
Gamby said Local 196 sets the model for how Reservists should be supported. “That support has always been steady, right at the top,” he said.
For his part, Kipping said the local has been able to work around Whelan’s absences, so he’s never needed to “give her a hard time” about it.
“She makes it easy because she’s so well-organized,” he said.
Whelan was first commissioned into the Reserve in 2009 and has worked in the 39th Combat Support Hospital and has helped in treatment of children.