By Fonda Bock
USAREC Public Affairs
April 20, 2017
FORT KNOX, Ky. -- He initially joined the Army 15 years ago to follow in his family's footsteps, but now Staff Sgt. Mark Jenkins serves his country out of gratitude for the Army and love for his family.
His now 12-year-old daughter, Miracle, was born premature at 23 weeks with multiple serious health issues.
Jenkins, a recruiter at the Columbus West Center in Georgia, and his wife refused doctors' recommendations to remove Miracle from life support. Due to the care and treatment she received through the Army, she survived.
Today she recieves treament for her health conditions and is doing well.
Throughout his daughter's life, Jenkins' commanders allowed him the time he needed to take care of his daughter.
"My family and the care that I've received have been my main motivating factor for serving my country," Jenkins said. "I owe a great gratitude to the Army for the benefits that I've received and utilize, (and) the time to be with my family. ... It motivates me because they give me so much to be grateful for, and I feel as though I must do my best for my family, and my leadership that provides me with the opportunity to care for (my family)."
Jenkins said he always puts forth the maximum effort to do his job well and encourages his Soldiers to do the same.
"I always tell my Soldiers ... once you know why you're serving, then you make sure whenever you're having bad days, you think about your purpose," Jenkins said. "My purpose was to take care of my family."
Atlanta Recruiting Battalion Commander Lt. Col. Gregory Schrein said Jenkins' passion for recruiting is evident in his work ethic.
"He has dedicated countless hours to recruiting and sees all his tasks through (to) completion," Schrein said. "His devotion to the mission has been instrumental in the success of the Columbus West Recruiting Center. He embraces the opportunity to assist young Americans to better themselves by enlisting into the United States Army."
Jenkins had already starting filling out the packet to become a recruiter when he was assigned to recruiting duty one and a half years ago.
"I always wanted to be either a drill sergeant or recruiter because my drill sergeant helped me, and my recruiter helped me because he opened that door for me and guided me in the right direction," Jenkins said. "So I wanted to do that, especially coming from the neighborhood I grew up in. If (I had the opportunity to) provide young men and women with a way out of that kind of a neighborhood, then I would definitely jump on it."
Jenkins said he gets satisfaction out of helping youth who can't afford to pay for college.
"Sometimes you talk to a young man or woman from broken homes ... where they don't have a good income and sometimes the Army is the best opportunity for them," Jenkins said. "So I'm glad we're able to provide them with some other opportunity where they can establish a career and go to school at the same time."