By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jason Amadi, Naval District Washington Public Affairs
WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Naval District Washington (NDW) hosted an Ombudsman and Key Spouses Appreciation Luncheon on Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, Sept. 26.
In addition to the luncheon, this year Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. John Richardson and his wife Dana Richardson handed out the Mrs. Sybil Stockdale Ombudsman of the Year Awards. The ombudsmen were nominated for the awards by their respective commanding officers for exhibiting exemplary service to command families.
The Navy Family Command Ombudsman Program was first introduced to the Navy in 1970 by former CNO Adm. Elmo Zumwalt. His son, retired U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Col. James Zumwalt, served as guest speaker for the luncheon.
"I was glad to see that Sybil Stockdale lived long enough to enjoy two experiences in the sunlight years of her life," said Zumwalt. "The first is having this award named after her, but also living to see the commissioning of the ship named after her husband. I congratulate the awardees who will be recognized today. What you do and have done honors not only your command, not only the Navy, but selfishly, it honors my mother by continuing her legacy."
The CNO spoke briefly during the ceremony before presenting the awards, and expressed appreciation for the services of the recipients.
"Circumstances just come at you," said Richardson. "You're not responsible for those, but what defines you is how you deal with them. That is almost a motto for our ombudsmen. They take these circumstances, some of them extremely challenging, and just manage them. No matter what's going on, they bring more things into their span of control. It's a real honor for Dana and I to be here and be part of this celebration."
The 2017 Mrs. Sybil Stockdale Ombudsmen of Award winners were Michelle Harvey, ombudsman of Navy Operational Support Center Kitsap; Deanna Jones, ombudsman of Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Helena (SSN 725); Jennifer Pulley-Ringwald, ombudsman of U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa; and Amy McCormick, ombudsman of Seawolf-class fast-attack submarine USS Connecticut (SSN 22).
"When I found out I was selected for Ombudsman of the Year, I was surprised and shocked and so very honored," said Harvey. "I don't do what I do for me. I do it for the families."
"It was amazing to see how much senior leadership was here this afternoon. I'm just blown away. Having Lt. Col. Zumwalt here just brought me to tears. This whole thing makes you feel like you've done something and made a difference in somebody's life," said Harvey.