Bruce Busby, a radiation safety manager and biosafety officer at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, was honored recently with a Service Member Patriot Award by the Department of Defense for his support of employee and “citizen warrior” Jeremiah Ratliff.
Ratliff, who since 2017 has worked as a senior radiation safety technician in Fred Hutch’s Environmental Health & Safety Department, for the past four years has also served as a military police sergeant in the Washington state Army National Guard. He’s currently stationed in Afghanistan. In addition to juggling a full-time job and military service, Ratliff is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in nuclear energy engineering technology at Thomas Edison State University.
Busby, himself a military veteran, just “gets it,” Ratliff wrote in nominating Busby for the honor, which he received May 2 during an award presentation at the Hutch.
“Bruce was prior Navy, so I don’t have to jump through hoops on explaining my obligations to my country,” Ratliff wrote. “His understanding of my duties is unmatched. I am truly grateful to be working for a manager who gets it.”
Busby has worked at the Hutch since 2001 and has more than three decades of experience in biosafety, radiation safety, health physics and research administration.
Upon learning of the honor, Busby said he would accept it, but only on behalf of his entire team and the Hutch overall.
“This recognition is not just for me as Jeremiah’s supervisor but for Environmental Health & Safety and Fred Hutch as a whole, which is willing to support citizen soldiers like Jeremiah,” he said. “We value the contributions he makes to the Hutch’s Radiation Safety Program and fully support him as he fulfills the duty and commitments he made to the Army National Guard. It’s truly a win-win.”
Military service is in Busby’s blood. In addition to serving for nearly a decade in the Naval Nuclear Power Program, his father served in the Navy during the Korean War and a grandfather was a Marine during World War II. Busby’s son also served in the Army, including two tours of duty in Iraq.
The Patriot Award was established in 1972 by Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, a program of the DOD, to promote cooperation and understanding between members of the military reserve and their civilian employers. Approximately 2,500 individual supervisors have received the honor, according to Phil Sanders, a Washington state DOD representative who presented Busby with the honor, which came with a wood plaque.
Kristen Woodward, a former associate editor at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center, had been in communications at Fred Hutch for more than 20 years. Before that, she was a managing editor at the University of Michigan Health System and a reporter/editor at The Holland Sentinel, a daily in western Michigan. She has received many national awards for health and science writing. She received her B.A. in journalism from Michigan State University.