Pam Davidson (left) receives the Patriot Award from Judith Mathewson,
employer outreach coordinator with the the Employer Support of the Guard
A University of Arkansas – Fort Smith professor who went out of her way to help one of her students serving in the military was recognized by the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) during a faculty meeting at UAFS.
Pam Davidson, assistant professor and executive director of the dental hygiene program, received the Patriot Award from the ESGR recognizing individuals who show extraordinary support for a member or members of the National Guard or Reserve.
That member was Staff Sgt. Aletha Lensing of Greenwood, a spring 2016 graduate of the dental hygiene program who is currently serving a six-month deployment overseas as a member of military. In her recommendation letter, Lensing pointed to the numerous times and ways Davidson had helped her as a student, from opening the clinic afterhours to giving Lensing time to catch up on schoolwork when she had to miss class for military obligations.
“Although Mrs. Davidson is not a military member, she effortlessly exemplifies the characteristics of what it means to be an airman,” Lensing wrote in her recommendation letter. “She has given up her time and energy to make sure the program is successful, and has given me confidence in my abilities and myself as a hygienist. I am honored to know her and am honored to have learned from her.”
Davidson teared up as Judith Mathewson, employer outreach coordinator with ESGR, read Lensing’s letter in front of College of Health Sciences faculty gathered for a staff meeting.
“It’s very humbling to receive this, and it means a lot,” Davidson said. “I was just doing my job. We go to work each day and sometimes forget about the impact we make on students. So it just reminds me that at the end of the day, I’ve helped somebody achieve their goals. And when you look back on that, it means the world to you.”
Davidson also thanked other faculty in the dental hygiene program.
“I don’t think I deserve it more than any of the other faculty. I couldn’t do my job if I didn’t have them to support me,” she said.
“For a student to take the time to honor somebody speaks volumes of the students we have at our university,” Davidson said.
Maj. Jim Garvey and Chief Master Sgt. Bryan Peters with the 188th Wing of the Arkansas Air National Guard, accompanied Matheson in presenting the award to Davidson.