Three Memorial Physicians Honored With Patriot Awards From US Department of Defense

March 29, 2022

memorial hospital west patriot award recipients

Three Memorial Healthcare System critical care physicians – Drs. Aharon Sareli, Daniel Mayer, and Alvaro Visbal – were recently honored with the Patriot Award by the U.S. Department of Defense. The recognition was for their support of Kevin Tipton, an ICU nurse at Memorial Hospital West who also serves as a captain in the Florida Air National Guard.

The award celebrates supervisors whose actions directly support employees serving in the National Guard or Reserve. Most often this involves flexibility in scheduling, time off prior to or after deployment, caring for families, or granting leaves of absence, if needed. Tipton nominated the trio for the award for their understanding of his dual roles, even during a time when COVID-19 increased hospital admissions by more than 400%.

“It’s not easy for employers to make accommodations so that people can serve in two roles,” said Tipton, a critical care nurse practitioner for more than a decade. “No one wants an almost full-time employee, but it’s something these doctors have done with a smile and always been supportive.”

The awards were presented by Rebecca and Peter Caspari, Florida Director of Employer Outreach for the Department of Defense Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) program.

“We want to say ‘thank you’ to the doctors and patriotic employers for their support in letting soldiers leave their civilian job to do what they need to do with the Reserve and National Guard.”

During his deployment with the Florida Air National Guard, Tipton helped inoculate more than 10,000 individuals against the coronavirus.

“Kevin truly embodies the spirit of commitment, wanting to help others, and complete dedication,” said Dr. Sareli, Memorial Healthcare System’s chief of critical care medicine. “Those are also the qualities essential to healthcare workers as we try and do the best for our patients, despite the circumstances of the last two years.”

Drs. Sareli, Mayer, and Visbal each received a framed Patriot Award certificate and lapel pin during a presentation ceremony at Memorial Hospital West.

Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), is a Department of Defense program that for 50 years has developed and promoted supportive work environments for service members in the Reserve and National Guard through outreach, recognition and educational opportunities. These initiatives increase the awareness of the value of hiring Reserve and National Guard service members and recognize the sacrifices of employers to support the service member and our national defense. To learn more about ESGR, visit or contact them at 904-823-0336.