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America Supports You: Employer Makes Big Splash With Naval Reservist

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

ANNISTON, Ala., Aug. 12, 2005 – The staff at Anniston Medical Clinic here misses Naval Reserve Petty Officer 3rd Class Shannon Woodard when she's deployed, but they don't complain.

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Naval Reserve Petty Officer 3rd Class Shannon Woodard, left, nominated her employer, Dr. Vishala Chindalore, for recognition as an employer who supports the Guard and Reserve. Photo by Samantha L. Quigley

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

"Shannon is a very good employee, so we kind of miss her when she goes," said Dr. Vishala Chindalore, a rheumatologist and Woodard's boss at the clinic, where Woodard serves as a medical technician doing everything from recording patient information to giving injections. "We're very proud that she's in the Navy."

That pride is a two-way street, as Woodard sees it. Since the start of the fiscal year, she has been deployed three times as part of Naval Cargo Handling Battalion 12 out of Bessemer, Ala. Those deployments include 25 days in Spain and two weeks each in Hawaii and Virginia - in addition to her regular Reserve obligations. When she's deployed, Woodard works loading and off-loading ships' cargo.

"They've called me several times to go places, and Dr. Chindalore has always been so understanding and so wonderful," Woodard said. "It makes me feel good that she's understanding the way she is. She's been great, and a lot of (guardsmen and reservists) don't get that."

Woodard said she figured that support deserved some recognition, so she nominated Chindalore for a Patriot Award through the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Web site. The Patriot Award program lets an employer know that their support of the Guard and Reserve is appreciated by the nominating employee and by the ESGR. Chindalore received a Department of Defense Certificate of Appreciation and a Patriot lapel pin.

Chindalore has a patriotic outlook when it comes to supporting the country and her employee's military service.

"I will always personally believe in the saying, 'Ask what you can do for your country, not what (your) country can do for you,'" Chindalore said, recalling the famous words of President John F. Kennedy in his inaugural address. "In some ways is kind of makes us feel good that we can pay back something and help (the country) out. Of course we miss her, because she's a very good employee and it works out really well when she's around. But if she's doing something contributing to the country, we really like to support that too."

Woodard said she had wanted to join the Navy when she was in high school. She thought marriage and a child had made that an impossible dream, until she met a woman who was a Naval Reservist.

"It's just something that I had thought about for years," Woodard said. "I ran into a girl. She told me she was in the reserves, and she told me I should think about it. I wish I had joined 10 years ago, because I love it. The Navy's been good to me."

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Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve

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