W. Stephen Howard, D.M.D., FAGD, a clinical professor in the UF Department of Restorative Dental Sciences, received a 2020 Service Member Patriot Award in recognition of his support for Andrew Corsaro, D.M.D., who currently serves with the Florida Army National Guard.
Corsaro, who joined the college in 2018, is a team leader and teaches dental students in the DMD clinics, overseeing their patient care. He is also a captain in the Florida Army National Guard, serving as a dentist overseeing diagnosis, and dental classification and readiness for more than 5,000 Florida Army National Guard members. Howard is the director of the division of general dentistry and is Corsaro’s supervisor.
“This is a wonderful tribute to Dr. Howard as well as to Dr. Corsaro and others that continue to serve our country often times at the expense of weekends and personal time,” said A. Isabel Garcia, D.D.S., M.P.H., dean.
The Patriot Award is given in recognition of employer and supervisor support for U.S. National Guardsmen or Reservists for service members who need time away from work to fulfill their military obligations. Typically a representative from the Department of Defense presents the award to the recipient but, with COVID-19 upending many customs, Howard instead learned of this honor on August 19 during a Zoom meeting attended by the entire department and Dean Isabel Garcia.
“Everyone in the UF Division of General Dentistry, led by Dr. Howard, has been tremendously supportive of my service with the Florida Army National Guard. There have been instances where I have been on military leave for over a month at a time, and Dr. Howard, along with the other team leaders, went above and beyond to make sure my students and clinic are taken care of,” said Corsaro.
Corsaro added that some of his military activations have come with very little advance notice and, despite this, Howard and others have worked together to ensure Corsaro’s responsibilities within the college are covered, “I have been given some once-in-a-lifetime opportunities with the Army, and I would have been unable to pursue them if it were not for the support of the dean, our department chair and Dr. Howard.”
About the Award
The Patriot Award is one in a series of awards bestowed by the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, or ESGR. An employee serving in the National Guard or Reserve, or the spouse of a Guard or Reserve member, may nominate individual supervisors and bosses for support provided directly to the nominating Service member and his or her family. The Patriot Award reflects the efforts made to support citizen warriors through a wide-range of measures including flexible schedules, time off prior to and after deployment, caring for families, and granting leaves of absence if needed. The ESGR is a Department of Defense program established in 1972 to promote cooperation and understanding between Reserve Component Service members and their civilian employers and to assist in the resolution of conflicts arising from an employee’s military commitment.