Corporal Mario Jenkins
August 1, 1976 – September 24, 2005
Mario Jenkins was born in Lansing, Michigan on August 1, 1976. He moved to Tarpon Springs, FL with his parents as a toddler. He spent his childhood in Tarpon Springs, where he attended school and graduated in 1994 from Tarpon Springs High School. Throughout his childhood, Mario was involved in Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, peer mediator, soccer, baseball, junior sponger football, and high school football. He was awarded Tarpon Springs High School Student of the month in May 1994. As a young boy he dreamed of being a soldier, so following high school Mario joined the United States Marine Corps where he served both active and reserve duty for the next six years and received an honorable discharge.
While in the Marine Reserves he also attended Santa Fe Community College to pursue his Associate Degree. He served as an intern on the staff of the Safety and Health section at the Department of Veterans Affairs. It was here in Gainesville where he met the love of his life, his soulmate, Valerie Vaughn. In 2000 Mario attended the SFCC Institute of Public Safety Police Academy where he served as the Master Sergeant for Class #71. In 2000, Mario began his law enforcement career with the Clermont Police Department, which brought the now engaged couple to the Central Florida area. Mario and Valerie were married April 13, 2001 at Leu Gardens in Orlando.
Supported by his wife and family, Mario joined the University of Central Florida Police Department in 2001, where he proudly served as a patrol officer, SWAT Sniper and his current position as a K-9 Officer with K-9 partner, Makye. Mario was a dedicated and committed police officer. He was known for his friendliness, enthusiasm and dedication to duty and his devotion to his wife and friends. Helping others was always something Mario was used to doing.
He served as a mentor to the youth at the Tarpon Springs Boys and Girls club, organized the Marine Color guard for the ribbon cutting ceremony at the Tarpon Springs Sports Complex and served as a Jr. Recruiter for the U.S. Marine Corp. Mario was a charter member of Phi Phi Sigma National Veterans fraternity, a member of the Central Florida PBA, and the Florida SWAT Association.
Mario is survived by his soulmate and wife, Valerie Jenkins of Orlando; his loving parents, Franc and Ramona Jenkins and his grandmother, Aurora Rodriquez, all of Tarpon Springs; his uncles and aunts, Rudy and Benita Jenkins, Michael and Pepita Calendar, all of Michigan; his father and mother-in-laws, Harold and Dolores Vaughn of Bushnell; his brother-in-law, Richard Vaughn of Gainesville; many cousins throughout the country, as well as his law enforcement brother and sisters of the UCF Police Department.