News: New SAMC member sets the standard
Story by Spc. Samuel Northrup
FORT HOOD, Texas - “Passing the board for the Sgt. Audie Murphy Club was my toughest accomplishment,” said Sgt. 1st Class Lemakius Gardner, a distinguished visitor quarters manager in Headquarters Support Company, Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, III Corps. “I walked out of that board with my socks wet.”
Gardner had gone to the board twice. The first time she didn’t make it, but she did not get discouraged because it was something she wanted very much.
Through loyalty to her soldiers, dedication to her goals and having a motivational spirit, Gardner demonstrated that she was ready to be a part of the SAMC.
In preparation for the SAMC board, Gardner visited different agencies on post to find out the latest information on the services available to soldiers. She said that this not only helped her out, but also her soldiers.
“As a leader, I should be able to help soldiers get the resources they need when they come to me for help,” Gardner said. “If a soldier is having financial issues, I can point them to the appropriate military and non-military resources.”
Sgt. Stephen Magnuson, a DVQ manager with HSC III Corps, said that Gardner’s experience has helped him with his needs.
“I am about to leave the Army,” Magnuson said. “She has a lot of information about where to go on post and what I have to do to make my transition a lot easier.”
According to Eunice Dickenson, a protocol specialist for III Corps, Gardner is always taking care of soldiers to ensure they are not neglected.
“Gardner has a staff sergeant who wants to go to the SAMC board, so she took time away from her studying to help that soldier out,” said Dickenson.
Originally from Albany, Ga., Gardner has been setting goals for herself since she first joined the Army.
“I asked my drill sergeant in basic training what I needed to do to get to his level,” Gardner said. “He said go to Airborne School, become a drill sergeant and go to college.”
Gardner did just that. She volunteered for airborne school while in Advance Individual Training and some years later was selected for drill sergeant duty.
“I got selected for drill sergeant duty when I was an E5 promotable,” Gardner said. “It was a little difficult for me, but I passed Drill Sergeant School. I graduated at the top of my class because my senior leadership had set me up for success. They drilled with me before I left for Drill Sergeant School.”
“Becoming a drill sergeant allowed me to come out of my shell as far as being a cook, Gardner said. “When I first joined I was just a cook, but when I became a drill sergeant I became a more rounded Soldier.”
Gardner, a food service NCO, said that one of her goals in her career is to show her soldiers that they are not just cooks.
“My goal is to teach soldiers that whatever it is they want to do in life, in the Army or in civilian life, don’t give up on it,” Gardner said. “Keep going, because it may not be your time right now, but it will be your time eventually.”
The SAMC induction ceremony for Gardner is scheduled to take place in June.