by Ryan Labadens, US Navy Public Affairs
The lines between family and service tend to blur together for one employee at Naval Construction Battalion Center (NCBC) Gulfport, Mississippi.
Karrie Davis tries to use every opportunity as a Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) non-appropriated funds (NAF) human resource specialist to serve others as if they were family.
Davis grew up in Washington State where she met and married a USS Fife (DD 991) Sailor, Jason Davis, who is now a retired Navy Chief who currently works at the NCBC Gulfport Fleet and Family Support Center (FFSC)as a work and family life specialist.
They were stationed in various locations during her husband’s military career. In 2006, Davis and her husband moved to Jacksonville, Florida, where she decided to re-enter the workforce at the naval air station there, where she eventually became the MWR daycare director. At that time, she also served as the vice president for the Family Readiness Group for Navy spouses while her husband served aboard the USS Hué City (CG 66).
Davis remained in Florida while her husband transferred to Command Navy Region Southeast (CNRSE), and during that time she circled back to a profession that embodied a different type of service: caring for the elderly as a geriatric home healthcare specialist.
“I worked for a nursing home for five years right after I got out of high school, and my patients were always like family to me,” said Davis.
Her husband eventually received his orders for his final duty station before retiring, which happened to be for NCBC Gulfport working as the Navy Counselor (Career) for Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 1.
Davis admitted that before then the only time she could remember ever hearing the word “Seabee” was in tandem with the movie star John Wayne, when he starred in the 1944 film “The Fighting Seabees.” But she readily fell in love with their mission, the people of NCBC Gulfport, and the small-town feel of places like Gulfport and Long Beach, and she and her husband decided to make the Mississippi Gulf Coast their home.
“I liked that for my family, and especially my daughters – I wanted them to have that hometown experience,” said Davis.
She initially began working for MWR here in Gulfport in February 2013, starting in the Child and Youth Program and then working in Administration before becoming a NAF HR specialist in 2018.
“I have had an exceptional mentor here at NCBC Gulfport who pushes for growth within yourself and her other employees, Ms. Deborah Brockway, MWR director,” said Davis, who credited Brockway for her guidance that eventually led Davis to her current position.
That caretaker role that she loved so much about working with the elderly is what prompted Davis to pursue the position in human resources, so that she could serve and care for the people who work in MWR and at NCBC like they were family.
“I don’t know if it just has anything to with the South or if it’s just being here at NCBC, but we’re all just like an eclectic family,” said Davis. “I truly enjoy my exceptional co-workers and fantastic working relations we have with other departments. It’s pretty amazing, so I love that – and for me it’s not only good to be in Gulfport, it’s good to be at MWR Gulfport.”