Navy lodging wins honors

The Navy Gateway Inns and Suites (NGIS) on Naval Base Kitsap (NBK) garnered five-star accreditation and the coveted Secretary of Defense's 2013 Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt Award for Excellence in lodging management.

NGIS on both NBK Bremerton and NBK Bangor earned the honors, and NBK Commanding Officer Captain Thomas Zwolfer presented the awards during a ceremony on NBK Bremerton, Wednesday.

"The Zumwalt Award is just another example of the very talented people we have here at Naval Base Kitsap,” said Captain Zwolfer. “Two weeks ago our energy specialists received the SECNAV Energy Award for large shore commands; before that our Navy chefs won the Ney Award for having the best galley in the Navy up at Bangor.”

Captain Zwolfer also had something unexpected for one of the employees attending the ceremony.

“Today we are at NBK Bremerton for the Admiral Elmo Zumwalt Five-Star award for Navy Gateway Inns and Suites, and a highly competitive personal award for a talented and dedicated person who was selected as the Navy NGIS enterprise-wide Housekeeper of the Year.”

That Housekeeper of the Year was Castrence “Cathy” Calden.

“Oh my gosh," she said. "I was so surprised I couldn’t even speak. I thought they made a mistake calling my name. I was crying, so I couldn’t even hear them reading the award.”

“I still can’t believe it. It’s really touching that my boss nominated me for this award.”

She stressed though, that the job has always been about serving the service members for whom NGIS is a "home away from home" and that she and her fellow employees will remain focused on that.

Judging for the award covers a number of areas, all of which must pass, and facilities must score at least 95 percent overall.

Since 1996, NGIS Bremerton has six Five-Star awards, while the Bangor location has earned five. Inspections are conducted every other year.

Inspection visits are unannounced, so each NGIS must be inspection ready every day.


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