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NEWS | March 7, 2023

Longtime NSWCDD Engineer ‘Always Been a Helper’

By NSWCDD Corporate Communications

Gregory Sokolowski often questioned the purpose of life as a young adult.

He posed the inquiry to an older mentor who explained that he believes humankind is here to benefit one another.

“He said, ‘I think what we’re supposed to do is just help each other get through this journey called life, doing good deeds and treating each other as best we can,’ ” Sokolowski recalled.

The explanation made sense to Sokolowski because as the middle child, he struggled to find his place. He settled on helping others any way that he could.

“I’ve just always been a helper,” Sokolowski said.

Sokolowski serves as an aid to the warfighter in the Weapons Control and Integration Department at Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD) where he is the laser portfolio manager for the Non-Kinetic Lethality Branch.

When he’s not assisting the senior methodology and model development engineer in his branch, he’s serving on the Rappahannock Area Community Services Board (RACSB) as a member of its board of directors, a position he has held for the past six years.

Sokolowski’s willingness to serve earned him the Distinguished Community Service Award from NSWCDD.

“What inspired me was that there was another gentleman within my division who served as a board member,” said Sokolowski who plans to retire from NSWCDD at the end of May after 41 years. “He asked me if I would consider becoming a board member because the board likes having engineers from the government. We have vast experience dealing with the community, dealing with finances and all that’s involved in the work of being a board member.”

RACSB serves all five localities in Planning District 16 – Caroline, King George, Spotsylvania and Stafford counties as well as the City of Fredericksburg. There are three representatives from each jurisdiction.

Sokolowski represents Stafford.

He served on the board’s personnel, finance and program planning committees, and is currently the secretary for the Executive Committee. 

“Greg brings compassion to the table of our boardroom,” said Amy Umble, RACSB’s communications coordinator. “He cares about the people we serve and often helps them behind the scenes in addition to his work on the board.”

RACSB assists residents with mental health, developmental disabilities, substance abuse, early childhood development and prevention of at-risk behaviors. It conducts more than 30 programs in 40 buildings and is active in schools, homes, jails and homeless camps. It assisted nearly 27,000 people in fiscal year 2022 and provided $3.8 million in assistance.

“The board of directors are the eyes and ears to give [RACSB] direction moving forward as well as a liaison with our area and with state legislators,” Sokolowski noted.

In addition to his service with RACSB, Sokolowski held several positions at New Hope United Methodist Church in Fredericksburg.

He is also a board member with Heartwood Ministries, which provides summer youth mission camp opportunities to middle and high school students in Stafford. He’s taken mission trips to Mexico, El Salvador, Kenya and Uganda to assist with church construction, Vacation Bible School and medicine and food distribution.

Sokolowski admits apprehension about his upcoming retirement, but he’s also looking forward to having more time to serve others.

“I don’t have anything planned other than my wife is giving me a two-month period to remodel the upstairs master bathroom,” Sokolowski said. “That’s my first priority. But other than that, I’m just going to find ways to get more involved with my community.”

Sokolowski will receive his award at the NSWCDD Honorary Awards Ceremony on March 10 at the Fredericksburg Expo and Conference Center.