Two East Baton Rouge EMS supervisors were honored Tuesday for supporting a National Guard employee as he prepares for his upcoming deployment in Afghanistan.

Will Warren, an EMS shift supervisor, and Kris Kienzle, a deputy shift supervisor, were presented the Department of Defense Patriot Award. Sgt. Kevin Buller, a reservist in the Army National Guard and paramedic with EMS, nominated Warren and Kienzle for the award.

Buller has served in the Guard six years and will be deploying to Afghanistan soon. As he balances the stress of deployment preparation and his duties at EMS, Warren and Kienzle have been instrumental in allowing him the flexibility to clear his schedule for his training.

Buller's upcoming deployment has strained his time between EMS and the Guard, as his unit requires extra training beyond the usual one weekend per month. 

“They’ve taken a lot of stress off me, allowing me the time off to do additional training with my unit,” Buller said.

As a former specialist in the Army, Kienzle said he is a little embarrassed by the recognition because he does not feel he has done anything that deserves praise.

“I think we do what any supervisor would do for a guy that’s serving his country,” Kienzle said.

Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome attended the ceremony and thanked Buller for his service, then praised Warren and Kienzle’s role in easing Buller’s dual duties.

“For you to have the sensitivity as leaders to understand what Kevin is dealing with as a reservist and working here speaks volumes about your leadership,” Broome said. “You represent what’s good about our community, what’s good about our first responders.”

Email Jacqueline DeRobertis at jderobertis@theadvocate.com