Emergency prep is everyday work for Army reservist

Sgt. Liz Kodet, emergency management specialist, is Sanford’s Veteran of the Year

Emergency prep is everyday work for Army reservist

Sanford Health’s Veteran of the Year is a person in charge of keeping Sanford Fargo ready for times of crisis.

Liz Kodet, an emergency management specialist, is a recent University of Minnesota graduate. She’s also a sergeant in the 407th Civil Affairs Battalion of the Army Reserves out of Arden Hills, Minnesota.

“All the stories we hear in the news about Sanford being one of the best active military and veteran employers are 100% true,” said Kodet, approaching three years working at Sanford. “I really don’t get a lot of questions about why I have to go do a training.”

In addition to her one-weekend-a-month duties with the Army, Kodet routinely signs up for military leadership courses and professional development opportunities. She just completed stints at the National Training Center in California and the Basic Leader Course in Wisconsin.

“People pick up for me and are supportive of me when I’m gone,” said Kodet, who’s been a soldier for six years. “And when I come back and need to re-immerse myself into my workflow.”

Benefits of military expertise

As you can imagine, there’s a lot of crossover between what Kodet does in the Army and her day-to-day at Sanford Health in Fargo, North Dakota. She needs to deliver in high stress situations and is always “on call.”

“Myself as her boss, and Sanford as a whole, greatly benefits from the expertise and the things and items that Liz is learning in her military career,” said Matt Van Voorhis, Sanford’s enterprise emergency operations director.

Van Voorhis says the main job of emergency management is to bring various Sanford departments together to prepare for emergencies and disasters. He adds Kodet’s efforts in that area showed up during a tragic incident in 2023.

“The time, the preparation, the training, really showed in that event,” Van Voorhis said, referring to a July shooting where several Fargo police officers were fired upon at the scene of a routine traffic accident.

Officer Jake Wallin died. Two other officers and a civilian were wounded and taken to Sanford Medical Center Fargo. Those three were later released.

Stepping up continually

During that time, Kodet remembers making “sure that the Fargo police force had everything they needed.”

“Got everybody that needed to be there. Reuniting families and working through that process with our community partners. Unfortunately, (we experienced) the loss of one of our police officers.”

She was in awe of how everyone worked as a team and stepped up.

“Health care people have to step up continually to meet the needs of the community and they definitely did that in this circumstance,” Kodet said.

Van Voorhis adds, “Liz is really instrumental in her role of making sure all those pieces come together to make sure that we’re taking care of the situation, the patients, the family members, the media, you name it.

“Whereas it was a very difficult situation, Liz and the entirety of Sanford Fargo really came together, executed the plans and made the best out of a terrible situation.”

Deserving of recognition

Kodet’s composure and attention to detail are just some of the reasons why Van Voorhis nominated her for Veteran of the Year.

“Liz really deserves it. Liz puts a ton of time and effort into her role at Sanford,” Van Voorhis said. “At the end of the day, the harder we work, the more prepared we are, and the safer that our facilities, patients and staff are.”

Surprised with a plaque and a monetary award in December, Kodet is grateful the organization wants to be an employer of choice for military members.

“It was a really cool recognition to have and it’s really cool that Sanford chooses to do those types of recognitions,” Kodet said.

Moving forward, Kodet’s goal is to continue to grow as a soldier and at Sanford. When not representing Sanford at meetings with city, state and federal partners, you can find her poring over materials.

“I have more planning binders than I’d like to admit,” Kodet jokes. “I probably spend more time doomsday planning than the average person but hey, I’ll take that on because it’s a great opportunity. Makes you think about things you wouldn’t think about.”

Learn more

Posted In Awards & Recognition, Emergency Medicine, Fargo, People & Culture, Sanford Stories, Veterans