Kim Azbart, Fort Myers campus admissions director, was presented the Patriot Award Feb. 20 by a member of her admissions team who serves in the National Guard.
Patriot Awards reflect the efforts made to support citizen warriors through a wide range of measures, including flexible time off prior to and after deployment, caring for families and granting leaves of absence if needed.
Staff Sgt. Jose Vargas has worked as a program manager at the Fort Myers campus for a year. He said he’s never nominated any other employers during his 17-year tenure with the National Guard.
“I felt Rasmussen College, especially Kim, was super supportive of my military service,” Vargas said. “They made my transition from military to civilian life seamless and flawless.”
The award is presented by the Employer Support of the Guard and the Reserve (ESGR), and is awarded to individual supervisors of a company, and not a whole team or company itself. Vargas nominated Azbart for “being a great boss, leader and mentor.”
“I was completely surprised, and felt an overwhelming sense of honor,” Azbart said. “However, the recognition is not mine alone. This is another great examples of Rasmussen College’s philosophy of taking care of their employees. I was able to accommodate his drills, flexible schedule, vacation time to spend with his family prior to deployment—all because of the policies Rasmussen College has in place.”
Vargas said he hopes it gives his team a sense of accomplishment and understanding of the importance of supporting the military in general.
“I hope they hold the award in high regard and pride,” Vargas said. “I would hope it gives the campus credibility and honor, knowing the military supports what they do.”
Azbart said the award meant an extreme amount to everyone who works at the campus.
“We are proud of his service, but at the same time realize the stress to him and his family as he gets ready to deploy,” Azbart added. “As we celebrate our one year as a public benefit corporation, I think this award is a tangible recognition that Rasmussen truly believes in supporting the communities we serve.”
The campus held a celebration for Vargas on his last day at the campus Feb. 25 before he left for deployment to Afghanistan on March 1. They ordered everything he wanted to eat before being deployed, including chicken parmigiana from Olive Garden and tiramisu from “Cheesecake Factory” They also all signed a Rasmussen College t-shirt with well wishes and gave him a Rasmussen College sweatshirt.
Vargas plans to return to his job at the Fort Meyers campus as soon as his deployment is over.Curious what other campuses have been up to lately? Check out the News Beat Blog to find out!