The Meritorious Civilian Service Award was recently presented to Sallie Younger, director of the Fleet and Family Support Center (FFSC) at Naval Support Activity Bethesda (NSAB), for her role in transforming what was once a small office into a full-service center.
The award is among the highest a civilian federal employee can receive from the Navy.
In 2010, the Fleet and Family Support office at NSAB offered only minimal services, such as transition assistance programs and deployment support. Other services were available through Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, where Younger was the clinical services supervisor.
Younger came to NSAB in January 2011 with the goal of building a full-service center to meet the needs of the influx of staff and patients from Walter Reed Army Hospital, which shut down as a result of Base Realignment and Closure later that year.
“It was quite an undertaking,” said Younger. At many naval bases, FFSC is tasked with serving only Navy personnel, but the center at Bethesda is responsible for providing services to all branches of the military.
“The programs offered by each branch are similar, but not identical, so it can be challenging to consolidate them and get the word out about what’s offered,” said Anne Bloesl, FFSC military transition and employment program manager.
Younger said they tried to adopt the best practices from a variety of programs while ensuring the requirements for each branch were met.
“We aim to provide the best of everything,” said Younger.
This May marked the anniversary of expanded clinical services, including family advocacy, clinical counseling and domestic assault victim advocate services. In addition to clinical services, FFSC also offers expanded family support and education opportunities, such as parenting classes and employment networking events.
Younger, who has served in management roles as a social worker for more than 15 years, said it is the center’s dedicated and loyal staff that makes it all possible. Bloesl said the feeling of appreciation is mutual.
“The center wouldn’t be the same without her,” said Bloesl of her supervisor. “She’s done an amazing job.”
Younger said she is humbled by the high praise, adding her sense of patriotic duty is what keeps her motivated.
“This is my way of giving back to my country,” said Younger.
To learn more about FFSC programs and services, call 301-319-4087 or email FFSCmed.navy.mil.