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    SUBASE’s Barbara Ross retires after impactful career supporting Fleet and Families

    SUBASE’s Barbara Ross retires after impactful career supporting Fleet and Families

    Photo By Seaman Jimmy Ivy | 210728-N-EJ843-0050 GROTON, Conn. (July 28, 2021) Naval Submarine Base (SUBASE) New...... read more read more

    GROTON, CT, UNITED STATES

    07.28.2021

    Story by Seaman Jimmy Ivy 

    Subase New London

    GROTON, Conn. – Following a career of opportunity and change for herself and the families she impacted and supported, the long-time Director of the Fleet and Family Support Center (FFSC) at Naval Submarine Base (SUBASE) New London retired from her position after nearly three decades on July 28.

    “I found that the work I was doing made a difference in the lives of military families and Sailors,” reflected Barbara Ross, a native of Vernon, Connecticut, who first started her career at FFSC in 1992 after working for the Better Business Bureau. “That sense of fulfillment started to mean an awful lot to me.”

    Ross led the team and center as a “one-stop shop” for Sailor, family, and life issues and support. FFSC offers support and tackles challenges ranging from parenting, life skill, and financial programs, to deployment support, exceptional family member support, transition and employment assistance, relocation assistance, counseling and victim assistance, and information and referral to a myriad of other programs focused on the quality of life for military personnel and their families.

    Over her career, her impact was remarkable: more than 1.3 million customer contacts, 423,000 class attendances, 66,000 educational services, and 107,000 counseling and family advocacy sessions.

    Ross found the FFSC through her husband, now retired, who was a submariner stationed at the base.

    “He felt that my career was just as important as his,” said Ross who noted that her husband went from sea to shore duty onboard the base to give her the opportunity to have a stable career. “He did what he had to do for us to stay here. It was hard to make that kind of decision because in the Navy you’re often not in charge of your own decision.”

    Initially, Ross had no idea of the breadth and width of FFSC’s programs services, but soon found out as she babbled in a little bit of everything during her 29 years.

    “I began as a relocation specialist,” she stated. “Then I was hired as the writing editor, which put me on the career path that I wanted. Next, I was selected for the work and family life skills supervisor. Lastly I served as the interim director until my director left and I officially took on the title here at the center.”

    For a brief time, she even stepped in during a vacancy to fill in and run the Time for Twos Program before it ended. The Time for Twos program allowed moms and dads to bring their two- and three-year-old children to participate in multiple activities. This allowed parents to meet other parents that were in the same situation as them.

    “I didn’t have kids at that time, and never imagined that I would find myself in charge of a class on my hands and knees,” said Ross. “It was a taste of something that I had never done before, but I really enjoyed it.”

    Her most memorable years at FFSC came as the work and family life skills supervisor when she got to create and produce the “Military Neighbors” television show. The show provided information to local military families on everything FFSC had to offer without them necessarily having to come to the center.

    “Sitting in front of a camera scared me to death, but of course you don’t say no to your boss,” stated Ross. “We created a half hour talk show where I interviewed guests and put out practical real-world information to the community. It was the most challenging project I ever had and at the same time it was my greatest achievement.”

    Ross, who earned a graduate degree in organizational management while working at the center, sought to apply those theories as she moved up the ranks at FFSC. She emphasized supporting her team of talented people as opposed to managing projects.

    “As the director I supervise the operation,” she stated. “I work with people to make sure that they are able to help Sailors and their families. My success relies completely on the work that my staff does. They are the ones who deliver the outstanding services that we’ve gained a reputation for.”

    Looking back, Ross believes she was drawn to the center’s work because of the principles her father, a WWII veteran, instilled in her.

    “My father really impressed on us [siblings] the importance of service and doing your part to support your community,” she said. “I think that was an instinctual draw to this kind of work.”

    Ross says leaving the center and team is bittersweet. The range and number of Sailors and families impacted and supported will be happy reflections while the sense of leaving an exceptional team feels like she’s losing part of her family.

    She’s confident that the team and the legacy they’ve built providing service will not only endure but also continue to improve.

    “I’ve had a good team and we’ve weathered a lot of change that has left us better than ever,” she concluded.

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 07.28.2021
    Date Posted: 08.04.2021 16:10
    Story ID: 402450
    Location: GROTON, CT, US 
    Hometown: VERNON, CT, US

    Web Views: 266
    Downloads: 0

    PUBLIC DOMAIN