May 28, 2014
Tim Kauffman
[email protected]

Role of Civilian Healthcare Employees in Treating Active Duty Military Discussed in new “I Am AFGE” Documentary

Categories: Press Release, VA, Benefits

AFGE local president Paul Ferris discusses how civilian employees ensure Fort Bliss soldiers are ready for battle



WASHINGTON – When active duty service members stationed at Ft. Bliss need medical attention, they rely on civilian employees at William Beaumont Army Medical Center to bring them back to health.

Paul Ferris represents many of these civilian employees as president of American Federation of Government Employees Local 2516 in El Paso, Texas. Paul takes pride in his work, knowing that the military depends on the medical care providers and support staff AFGE represents to ensure soldiers are ready for battle.

“When we don’t have the full services that are required to take care of these patients, our freedoms are in jeopardy,” Paul says. “Because when you have a team that needs to go to war, you don’t send part of the team, you send the whole team. And if we’re not able to take care of our team, they can’t go [into battle] complete. And when you’re downrange, that makes a difference.”

Paul shares his story in the latest documentary produced by the American Federation of Government Employees, which represents Paul and more than 240,000 other employees throughout the Department of Defense. The documentary series is part of AFGE’s year-long campaign, “I Am AFGE,” to increase the public’s awareness and appreciation of the women and men who work for them every day.

The doctors, nurses, lab technicians, respiratory therapists, food supply workers and other medical care staff who belong to AFGE provide world-class care to service members and their families, as well as retirees. The Military Health System employs more than 137,000 civilian employees in 65 hospitals, 412 medical clinics, and 414 dental clinics across the nation and around the world, as well as in contingency and combat-theater operations.

AFGE ensures employees are treated fairly on the job and aren’t subjected to discrimination or retaliation, so they can focus on doing the work that taxpayers expect of them, Paul says.

“The way we take care of our employees is the way I was brought up. You take care of others,” Paul says. “You don’t see age, you don’t see color, you don’t see race. You see the person in need [and] you take care of them.”

Paul’s story is one of 15 short-form documentaries being released by AFGE every three weeks through the end of the year, highlighting individual federal employees who carry out important work across the country.

All of the videos are being posted online and distributed to hundreds of news outlets across the country. The campaign also is being promoted through social media, an employee photo contest and other events.

In addition, a special toll-free phone line has been established to record and share testimonials from federal employees or citizens who value the services that federal employees provide. The number to call is 1-844-IAM-AFGE (426-2343).

“The military would not be able to serve and protect us overseas without the support of our civilian employees at home, and nowhere is that more critical than in ensuring their physical health and wellbeing,” AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr. said. “AFGE is proud to represent the women and men who treat our service members at healthcare facilities across the world.

“They and all other government employees have dedicated their careers to serving the public. This campaign is our way of thanking them for their service and reminding Americans of the valuable work they do.”

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