VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (NNS) -- The recipients of the 2016 Mrs. Sybil Stockdale Ombudsman of the Year Award were announced Sept. 29 during an ombudsman appreciation dinner at the Virginia Beach Convention Center.
The award, presented by Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson and his wife, Dana, recognized four of the Navy's top ombudsmen who served their command and families with selfless dedication and commitment to family readiness. The four ombudsmen come from afloat commands, both Atlantic and Pacific; ashore commands under Navy Installation Command; and Navy Reserve commands.
The following ombudsmen were nominated for the awards by their commanding officers:
Amy Anderson, ombudsman for Commander, Submarine Force, Atlantic, representing all naval shore activities in the Navy.
Julie Pratt, ombudsman for SEAL Team 1, representing sea commands under Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet.
Elaine Allen, ombudsman for Navy Operational Support Center North Island, representing all Reserve commands under Commander, Navy Reserve Force.
Kelly Sperry, ombudsman for amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3), representing sea commands under Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command.
All four recipients expressed how they felt receiving this award.
"To be an ombudsman means to be there for the families," said Anderson. "I don't do what I do for the recognition; I love what I do. I can't imagine not being an ombudsman."
"Being an ombudsman means being a friend and a part of the family; it means to be there when you are needed," said Pratt. "This award is above anything I ever imagined. It's amazing."
"It's a special honor," said Allen. "I've known the Stockdales for about 30 years and there were never two finer warriors. This really means a lot."
"It's an honor to serve our families," said Sperry. "Receiving this award is an honor. If it weren't for the families, I wouldn't be here."
The award is named in honor of Sybil Stockdale and the support she gave to families of prisoners of war during her husband's internment in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War.
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