☷USAMMDA says farewell to Willie Jenkins after 38 years of combined military and federal civilian service
U.S. Army ( By Press Release office)
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Army Col . Mara Kreishman - Deitrick , USAMMDA deputy commander , presents Willie Jenkins with his Certificate of Retirement to conclude his 18 years of service as a federal civilian employee , during a ceremony held at USAMMDA headquarters , April 29 . Willie Jenkins in uniform during his service in the U . S . Army as a Sergeant First Class circa 1999 . During a ceremony held at U . S . Army Medical Materiel Development Activity headquarters , Fort Detrick , Maryland , Willie Jenkins retired as a federal civilian after 18 years of service , in addition to his 20 years of military service as a U . S . Army soldier . Army Col . Gina Adam , USAMMDA commander , offered introductory remarks to those in attendance , April 29 . At the end of April , the U . S . Army Medical Materiel Development Activity will say farewell to Willie Jenkins , who has been a smiling face and valued member of the organization for well over a decade . Serving as USAMMDA’s property book officer and general supply specialist , Jenkins is the person responsible for managing and maintaining all items , big and small , that help to keep the unit running smoothly in support of its mission to develop and deliver quality medical capabilities to protect , treat and sustain the health of our Service Members throughout the world . As a U . S . Army veteran with twenty years of service to our nation , Jenkins retired as a Sergeant First Class in 1999 . During his military career he traveled throughout the world , and his numerous assignments included tours at Fort Jackson , South Carolina; Fort Gordon , Georgia; Fort Hood , Texas; Schofield Barracks Hawaii; Fitzsimmons Army Medical Center , Colorado; Fort Sill , Oklahoma; Korea; the United States Military Academy at West Point; and Fort Detrick , Maryland . “I really enjoyed my time in the Army , and I had a lot of interesting assignments over the years , ” said Jenkins . “While stationed at Fitzsimons Army Medical Center , I instructed more than 250 U . S . and International Students in basic electronics , while assigned to the U . S . Army Medical Equipment and Optical School . But I would say my most rewarding position was the five years I was assigned as cadre to the United States Military Academy at West Point . While I was there , I was in direct contact with each and every Cadet and future potential Commissioned Officer to graduate from West Point . ” Jenkins first arrived at Fort Detrick while still in the military , assigned to the U . S . Army Medical Materiel Agency in the Logistics Internship Program , with a follow - on assignment as the Senior Noncommissioned Officer , National Maintenance Point . After retiring from the military during his time at USAMMA , in 2000 , he began work as a Biomedical Equipment Repair Technician at Montgomery General Hospital in Olney , Maryland . He returned to Fort Detrick to accept a position in the same field at the U . S . Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases , and after about a decade of working elsewhere , he returned for good to Fort Derick in 2010 to serve in his current role as General Supply Specialist , Property Book Officer for USAMMDA . However , Jenkins remains a member of the Maryland Chapter of the Biomedical Equipment Technicians Association . Jenkins’ life and career are quite interesting , and his personal journey is very inspirational for many who know him . “I was born and raised in Chicago , Illinois , but spent several of my formative years living in Mississippi , ” he said . “I grew up in a single - parent home with four siblings , two brothers and two sisters , and I was a pretty good high school basketball player . Out of high school , I was accepted to the Naval Academy , but turned it down because I nearly drowned when I was 12 years old – that was a traumatic , life - altering event for me . So because of this , I enlisted in the Army for some fun , travel and adventure . ” It must have really been “fun” for Jenkins , as he spent the next twenty years in military service to our country . However , the military was not necessarily his primary ambition early on . “Odd as it may seem , my long - term goal in life has been to learn and grow . I have spent the majority of my professional life repairing medical equipment , and it has been a very fulfilling career , ” he explained . “I would always tell the physicians and medical staff that my role in saving lives was equally as important as theirs , because if I did not provide them with functional medical equipment , they would not be able to do the amazing things that they do . ” “Our path in life is always changing , and I refer to this as a life - altering event , ” he continued . “I mentioned earlier that I nearly drowned at a young age , and had that not happened , I probably would have been a Navy officer . If I had left the Army after my first enlistment , I am sure that I would not be here at USAMMDA . If I felt like my level of productivity at USAMMDA was the same as when I signed onto the organization years ago , I would not retire . It all stems from a change in output – when your output has declined , this is usually the time when you have to move on , and I’m okay with that . ” During our conversation , Jenkins recalls his many friends and colleagues at USAMMDA , which leads to his recollection of a frightening incident in 2020 that could have been much more than “life - altering” if help had not arrived in time . One morning , when Jenkins had not shown up at work at his usual time , nor called to say he would be late , his co - workers quickly came together to investigate the situation . They soon discovered that Jenkins was home alone , suffering from a transient ischemic attack , or “mini - stroke” that left him dazed and confused . “Near the beginning of the pandemic , the organization had implemented a daily employee check - in policy , to ensure everyone was accounted for . If this had not been created , there is a good chance that I may not be here today . My heart literally goes out to those who came to my aid on June 25 , 2020 , and I thank God every day for them , ” said Jenkins . “It’s tough to name and thank individuals at times like these , because it’s not fair to leave anyone out , ” he added . “However , I do want to take this opportunity to thank Redia Anderson , Kenner ‘Sam’ Samuels and ( Army ) Sgt . 1st Class Daniel McGarrah . Redia checked on me first , but was too far away to get to me in a timely manner , so she called Sam and explained my erratic behavior . Sam called me and came to my aid , but with my symptoms , he wasn’t sure what he should do to help me . So he called Sergeant McGarrah , who is a medic , and he told Sam to dial 911 immediately . Because of the quick actions from these three people , I am still here today , and can’t thank them enough . ” It is safe to say the entire USAMMDA team is thankful for the help given to Jenkins that fateful day , as everyone is glad to have him here — he has children and grandchildren , who certainly want him around for many years as well . He is a wonderful friend , cherished colleague and dedicated family man who always respects others , especially his mother , whom he considers “the only hero that I have ever known … [with] motherly qualities that were second to none . ” Jenkins has accomplished so much over the years , earning three academic degrees while serving full time in the Army . These include an Associate’s degree in biomedical equipment maintenance from Regis College , Aurora , Colorado; a Bachelor’s degree in liberal arts sciences from St . Thomas Aquinas College , Sparkill , New York; and a Master’s degree in management from Webster University , Bolling Air Force Base , Washington , DC . During his military career , Jenkins received numerous awards for superior service , which include the Meritorious Service Medal ( 2 ) , Army Commendation Medal ( 3 ) , Army Achievement Medal ( 2 ) , National Defense Service Medal , Overseas Ribbon ( 3 ) , and the Good Conduct Medal ( 6 ) . He also was awarded the Expert Field Medical Badge , Air Assault Badge , and Expert Marksmanship Badge . Maintaining his service and dedication to our nation’s military members and veterans , Jenkins has been involved with the Frederick , Maryland , chapter of the American Legion for many years , and he currently serves as the Commander of Francis Scott Key Post 11 . His duties include supervising all operations , and managing special events and observances throughout the year . Jenkins says that working with veterans on a regular basis may be the most rewarding aspect of his career thus far . It is easy to see that he is a very giving person , and this is the Willie Jenkins that everyone knows and respects . He is a seasoned professional who will help others at any time , and all one has to do is ask . A very familiar sound at the north hall of the building would be someone poking their head in his office , saying , “Hey , Willie , do you have a minute ” It’s a shame that phrase will not be heard for much longer – people will surely miss it soon . For now , as he heads into his retirement years , you will probably see Jenkins at the local bowling alley , or on the golf course . He’s always up for a challenge , as the avid athlete remains in his heart always . In fact , his tales of playing basketball as a youth with then - future NBA greats on the outdoor courts of Chicago have kept many colleagues fascinated for quite a while . Yes , people will surely miss it soon . As Jenkins says , our paths in life do change , perhaps more often than not – and many would agree that change is good . However , in this case , most would probably like to have Willie Jenkins as a USAMMDA teammate for a lot longer . To see his smile , hear his laugh , and just know he is there in his office , whenever you need a friend . For now , all that remains is to send best wishes , kind thoughts and a fond farewell to a man who has dedicated the majority of his life to serving his country , and others around him , in the best way possible — yes , he certainly deserves all the best that life has to offer . Wouldn’t you know it We miss him already . Army . mil: Worldwide News U . S . Army Futures Command U . S . Army Medical Research and Development Command U . S . 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