Coast Guard reservist Philip Renshaw had been working as a laboratory assistant at the NCDA&CS Rollins Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory less than a month when the Deepwater Horizon offshore oil drill exploded in the Gulf of Mexico last April. Within two days of the explosion, he was deployed to the Gulf to help with the cleanup efforts. Having just started with the department, he was concerned he wouldn’t have a job when he returned.
Renshaw met with his direct supervisor, administrative officer Cheryl Hearn and laboratory director Dr. Karen Post. After explaining the situation, the laboratory was able to accommodate Renshaw and leave his position open during his scheduled 60-day deployment. As things worsened in the Gulf, Renshaw was asked to stay on because of his skills and strong working relationship with key personnel. The two-month assignment turned into a six-month deployment. When Renshaw returned, his job was still waiting for him.
“He was gone a long time and it did produce some hardship on the laboratory,” said Post. “However, staff did pull together to make sure his job got done. To be able to have him come back to work – to know that the job was secure – is something we were very proud to do.”
In recognition of the support shown by the NCDA&CS during his deployment, Renshaw nominated Cheryl Hearn and the employees of Rollins Lab for a Patriotic Employer award through the Department of Defense’s National Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR). ESGR’s Kenneth R. Oppenheim presented the award to Hearn and Post Monday.
Renshaw explained why he nominated the laboratory staff: “They’ve sacrificed a lot in order for me to be in the Coast Guard and work here at the same time.” At the end of April, Renshaw received notification he may be redeployed to Venice, La., to supervise the continued cleanup efforts there. If he does leave, department employees will be there to support him again because, as Cheryl Hearn said, “We appreciate Philip and what he does for us and for our country.”