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DVIDS – News – I am Navy Medicine, and Command Ombudsman: Sean O’Driscoll

“I am Sean O’Driscoll, affiliated with Navy Medicine as command ombudsman for Navy Medicine Readiness and Training Command (NMRTC) Bremerton.”

O’Driscoll, a Park City High School, Utah, 1997 graduate, Scottsdale Culinary Institute 1998 class and Tacoma Community College 2019 class alumna, took on the volunteer responsibility after being lobbied by the transferring ombudsman.

“I was recruited by Shannon Afarin before her departure,” said O’Driscoll, noting that this was his second opportunity holding the position, having also handled similar ombudsman duties previously at Naval Medical Center Portsmouth (NMCP) Va.

The command ombudsman position is specifically designed to provide a vital communication link between command leadership and the family members of all staff assigned to the command. The ombudsman is appointed by the commanding officer.

Ombudsman are trained to disseminate information both up and down the chain of command, including official Department of the Navy and command information, command climate issues, and local quality of life improvement opportunities.

“I enjoy helping people and helping them solve their problems,” commented O’Driscoll, who also holds multiple duties in the community as a firefighter and paramedic with South Pierce Fire and Rescue, as well as working as a tactical medic with Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office SWAT team.

The Navy annually designates a date in September as Ombudsman Appreciation Day. Due to the ongoing pandemic outbreak and work commitments, the venue has changed this year, but the sentiment remains steadfast. Ombudsman Appreciation Day – to be held at NMRTC Bremerton on Sept. 28, 2020 – gives the opportunity to acknowledge dedicated volunteers like O’Driscoll giving of themselves and their time to help leadership meet the needs of Navy families, from sharing timely communication on programs, events and updates to providing referrals, reasons and recommendations covering a wide spectrum of Navy life.

“We are here to help, no matter what the reason is or what time it is. There probably isn’t anything you will tell me that will surprise me,” O’Driscoll said, stating that being an ombudsman allows him to be directly involved and contribute to the betterment of others.

“Being part of something that is much bigger than anything I could imagine while at the same time, supporting both my wife and the command. Using my training, I help those in need to find solutions to their problems and put them in contact with those that can help them,” added O’Driscoll, whose wife, Lt. Cmdr. Lisa O’Driscoll is a certified registered nurse anesthetist providing anesthesia-related care at NMTRC Bremerton Surgical Services department.

The two met quite by chance.

“My wife and I met on a blind date over 18 years ago and have been together ever since. We became a couple before the Navy became part of our life. We love to travel and embarked on this adventure over 10 years ago. We refer to ourselves as ‘Team O’ and embrace the opportunities and challenges that come our way. We like the sense of adventure and discovery that permanent change of station moving has brought. There is almost no better way to learn about people and places than to immerse yourself in a new culture. We have discovered that we both thrive in service to our nation and community. There have been so many great people we have met in our journey that will be life-long friends. We are excited to see where this journey takes us,” related O’Driscoll.

Navy Medicine has taken them to NMCP for over three years, Uniformed Serviced University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Md. for a year and a half, Naval Hospital Jacksonville, Fla., for approximately two years before their current assignment since June 2017.

Both O’Driscoll’s are also enthusiastically committed in staying active on and off the job.

“Like Lisa, I take my overall physical health very seriously. I work out on average between three to five days a week, depending on my work schedule,” shared O’Driscoll. “I also track my nutrition. I need to be both physically and mentally fit for my job and by watching what I eat and working out, I can accomplish those things.”

O’Driscoll attests that the best part about being an ombudsman is the interaction he has had with others. When asked to sum up his experience as a Navy Medicine ombudsman in one sentence, he replied, “If not me, then who?”

That question was also asked back in 1970 when then Chief of Naval Operations Adm. E.R. Zumwalt, Jr. created the Navy Family Ombudsman Program to improve communication between commands and the families of Sailors. Adm. Michael G. Mullen in 2006 then re-emphasized the importance of the program, and signed an updated instruction, highlighting the requirement that all Navy families have access to a Navy family ombudsman.

The ombudsman goal for half a century has been to function as the official liaison between command and families, to serve as a confidential point of contact for families as well as single Sailors, and to disseminate accurate information regarding command policies, services and deployments.

Sean O’Driscoll continues with that legacy and NMRTC Bremerton recognizes and is thankful for his efforts.

Date Taken: 09.25.2020
Date Posted: 09.25.2020 10:18
Story ID: 378683
Location: BREMERTON, WA, US 

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