FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas (Jan. 23, 2013) -- On a crisp Saturday
morning in January at the massive ski lodge style building that is
the home of the Warrior and Family Support Center here, Sgt. Maj. of
the Army Raymond Chandler III, decked out in his uniform with medals
across his chest and stripes running up his sleeves, sits in an arm
He is deep in conversation with a Wounded Warrior
sitting in a wheelchair dressed in a windbreaker and tattered blue
jeans his right leg elevated and bound in bandages. Chandler, a pad
on his lap, periodically jots down notes as the young warrior
This was one of several informal one-on-one meetings
Chandler had that day. His commitment to Soldiers drives him to make
time in his busy schedule to listen to what they have to say.
That Saturday morning was the day of the Army All-American Bowl,
one of the biggest recruiting events the Army conducts each year. By
the time Chandler arrived at the Warrior and Family Support Center,
he had already been going non-stop for almost two days, shaking
hands with coordinators and coaches, greeting players and parents,
and speaking with supporters and promoters.
it's a personal commitment to the Soldiers who make up the Army. His
commitment is even deeper for those warriors who have sacrificed
their own health and well-being in service to the nation.
Chandler, who views commitment as a trait that every person,
particularly Soldiers, should demonstrate, explains that he
re-learned what commitment really means from Judith Markelz,
director of the Warrior and Family Support Center.
not someone the casual observer would immediately think of as an
example to top military brass. A grandmother with no uniformed
experience, carries herself with a drive that belies her small
frame. She often jokes about her own disregard of pomp and customs,
but is well known throughout the San Antonio community and beyond as
a person who gets things done.
Judith Markelz, director of the Warrior and Family Support
Center at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, expresses her deepest thanks to
those wounded warriors, families and guests who attended the open
house, Dec. 4, 2013, celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Warrior
and Family Support Center. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class
Christopher Dehart, Army North PAO)
Markelz leads her staff and team of volunteers in setting
the standard for how the military cares for its wounded
warriors and their families. This example revolves around
their seemingly simple, but often challenging, mission of
providing a place of comfort and escape from the sterile and
frequently stressful environment confronting those receiving
She explained that from the beginning she
and her team have had only one goal and focus.
"Take care of the wounded warriors and their
families," Markelz said. "We aren't here as fundraisers or
tour guides. We're here to make sure the service members and
their families have a place to call their own. And that is
what we'll do as long as I am here."
humble about her role as the "leader" of the Warrior and
Family Support Center. She laughed at the idea that the
sergeant major of the Army viewed her as an example of
"I make sure everyone here
knows our responsibility is to help the warrior and their
family recover," she said when asked how she manages to keep
10 paid staff members and countless volunteers on track and
focused on their jobs. "If there is any confusion on that
responsibility then they are free to go somewhere else. It's
as simple as that."
Using the example Markelz has
demonstrated, Chandler said he looks for that same
commitment in himself and in the Soldiers he is charged with
"Over and over again she's been there for
every person who walks through the door. She's willing to do
whatever needs to take place to make a person's life
better," Chandler explained. "To see what Judith has done
for the past ten years I have to take a step back and say,
'OK, do I demonstrate the same level of commitment, care and
concern for Soldiers that she does?'"
Markelz is a prime example of what commitment in leadership
But as another leader in the military,
Command Sgt. Maj. Hu Rhodes, senior enlisted adviser for
U.S. Army North (Fifth Army), Fort Sam Houston and Camp
Bullis, pointed out, commitment is not a trait that only
gets developed once a person is placed in a leadership
"Commitment is expected from all," Rhodes
said, "from the newest private to the most senior general."
Chandler echoed this idea in that he expects all Army
personnel -- enlisted, officer, and civilian -- to remember
they are in the profession of arms, a profession which
requires commitment to fellow Soldiers their unit, the Army,
and the nation.
"The American people expect us to do
our duty" Chandler said. And that requires commitment.
By Army Sgt. Lee Ezzel
Army News Service
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