01/23/04 — Cherry doctor recognized

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Cherry doctor recognized

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on January 23, 2004 2:01 PM

A Cherry Hospital physician has been recognized for being a patriotic supervisor.

Dr. Kumbaiah N. Murthy, clinical director, was surprised with a plaque earlier this week during the department heads meeting. The award came from the National Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Defense.

Dr. Manjaraju Kolluru is medical director at Cherry, where he has worked for 20 years. He also has 21 years of service in the Army Reserves, where he is a colonel. He was deployed for the first time in July, stationed in Kuwait through November.

While there, he received support from Murthy, his supervisor.

"He was very cooperative," he said. "He put me in touch with personnel about different policies, and he encouraged me.

"He is very proud of me."

Kolluru learned about the award during his deployment and decided to nominate Murthy.

On Tuesday, Murthy was applauded publicly before his peers.

Marshall Smith, assistant hospital director, said, "This is a very high honor and we commend you for what you did to be recognized."

"We recognize people who do good things for the members of the Guard and the Reserves," said George Silver, representing the state branch of the committee.

He said the award is a high honor, with fewer than a dozen expected to be handed out in the state this year.

"When the draft ended in 1972, the Department of Defense had to do something to be behind this program," he said.

Silver, himself a retired Army Colonel with 33 years in the Guard and Reserves, four of them on active duty, said it is important to recognize the role the reservists play in the military.

He estimated that 56 percent of the armed services today are from the Reserves.

"In North Carolina, 11,000 men and women are in the Army and Air Guard, 5,600 of them on active duty," he said. "You can't always send active-duty people. They're going to be calling on active-duty Reserves and Guards."

Such a situation means employees can be called into service for brief or extended periods of time. Silver said employers are encouraged to support those who are on active duty and in the Reserves.

Silver said that since the draft was abolished, the Reserve troops are even more vital to the military. "This is not a one-time thing," he said. "It's the way emergencies are going to be handled from now on.

"They're making a big sacrifice."