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Sailors, civilian personnel bid ‘fair winds’ to NBHC Albany icon

By Verda L. Parker | Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany | November 10, 2015


Entering a room filled with voices chanting her name, one civil servant at Naval Branch Health Clinic Albany was greeted by Sailors and civilian personnel who gathered to celebrate and honor her for 55 years of federal service.

Five and one-half decades is indeed a notable accomplishment for Fran Quinn, who has devoted more than half her life supporting the warfighters and family members aboard Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany and Department of Defense installations along the Eastern border

During a retirement ceremony held recently at NBHC Albany, located aboard MCLB Albany, Quinn, health benefits advisor, received accolades and awards for her “remarkable” federal career

Cmdr. Raymond Bristol, officer-in-charge, NBHC Albany, presented the honoree with retirement certificates and gifts as personnel and well-wishers packed into the clinic’s conference room to witness the event and pay tribute to Quinn.

“Thanks to everybody for coming out to recognize Ms. Quinn and her retirement,” Bristol said.

“Fran, this certificate was signed by the commanding officer and I have another presentation that we will do shortly after that.

“This certificate is presented to Frances E. Quinn from the government of the United States of America following 55 years of loyal service,” the commander read, as the crowd erupted into cheers and applause.

In a second presentation, Bristol read a letter of commendation from Capt. John W. LeFavour, commanding officer, Naval Hospital Jacksonville, Florida.

“The commanding officer takes great pleasure in presenting a letter of commendation to Ms. Frances E. Quinn in recognition for services set forth herein,” he continued. “On the occasion of your retirement, it gives me great pleasure to recognize your contribution and professional achievement while serving as health benefits advisor, Administration Department, Naval Branch Health Clinic Albany, from July 1967 through July 2015.”

Quinn, who has worked at NBHC Albany for the past 48 years, was also recognized for her living up to her personal motto, “Go the extra mile with a smile.”

A tearful Quinn gave parting remarks to her colleagues, many of whom affectionately referred to her by her Indian name, “Walking Eagle,” according to some in the clinic.

“All I can say is, I’m going to miss everyone,” she said. “I’m going to miss my job — especially the people. It is not by my choice, but my doctor’s. I have enjoyed all of you all through the years and I’ve enjoyed the patients — being able to help them and see them be pleased with what I did for them; they were so appreciative.

“For fifty-five years, I’ve watched all these people come up here and make speeches when they were leaving and I said to myself, ‘I wonder what that would be like?,’” she admitted, as attendees burst into laughter.

“I’d think that I would stop and enjoy my retirement,” Quinn added. “But, when you’re a workaholic, it’s hard to do. That’s about all that I have to say, so goodnight.”

In the midst of their laughter and chatter, NBHC Albany personnel lined up for final hugs and farewell wishes to Quinn after the official ceremony.

Recalling five-plus decades of memories on her journey, the retiree comically reflected on federal positions she has held throughout her extensive career.

“Fourscore and seven years ago, I came onto the scene,” Quinn recited, while laughing. “My first civil service job was at Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune (North Carolina), in 1955. When I first came here, the base was still being built and the Marines didn’t have a hospital. So, my first job on the base here was a secretary to three officers in the Maintenance Center.”

Quinn admitted she loves trolling golf courses in search of lost  golf balls. The retiree said she has collected "hundreds of lost golf balls" as a hobby. Now that she's retired, she said she may take up the sport until such time that she loses all of the golf balls she's accumulated over the last few decades.