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Who I am…and Why it Matters

Who is Tom Gardner?  I’m a native of Northern Anne Arundel County. I grew up here and I am a product of our public schools. I attended Richard Henry Lee, Quarterfield Elementary, Corkran Jr. High and graduated from Old Mill Senior High in 1979. While a lot has changed in the world since I attended these schools, the goal of providing all students a safe and academically challenging environment remains the same. That goal mattered to my parents and it matters to me.

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In addition to being a proud lifelong resident of Northern Anne Arundel County, I am proud of my faith. I received my first Communion at Holy Trinity and was confirmed at Saint Brunette where I was an alter boy for 8 years. Currently, I am an active member of St. Benedict Catholic Church (in Baltimore City) and I am a member of the Knights of Columbus.

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Since education, family and faith were my cornerstone, I decided to I enlist in the US Army at the age 19. I was an Information Technology Specialist and was assigned to the 1176th Transportation Terminal Unit in Curtis Bay.  I applied, was accepted and graduated from US Army Flight School at Ft. Rucker, Alabama in 1984 as a Warrant Officer.

 I was commissioned as a Chief Warrant Officer 2 in 1986. In my 23 years of service as an Army Aviator, I flew many different airframes from the Huey, Chinook and Cobra.   Nine days after 9/11, I was deployed to Bosnia Herzegovina as a maintenance test pilot for the Blackhawk helicopter. While there, I was promoted to the rank of CW5, at that time I was the youngest soldier to ever achieve this rank in the history of the Maryland National Guard.   I retired in 2005 with an honorable discharge and awarded the Meritorious Service Medal. This medal is presented to members of the United States Armed Forces who distinguished themselves by outstanding meritorious achievement or service to the United States. I am grateful for the opportunities I had while serving our country.

In addition to my military service, my employment history also impacted who I am. I starting working at an early age. My first job was at La Fountain Bleue as a busboy. Not pretty work but one that taught me responsibility and a strong work ethic. I was able to carry these traits with me as I began my full-time employment as a mail clerk for Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT). As a loyal and hardworking employee at MDOT, I worked my way up to ultimately become the Associate Administrator at the Motor Vehicle Administration .

However, I am who I am not only because of my upbringing, faith, military service and employment, I am who I am because of my family. I felt my life was made complete when I married my wife in a private ceremony in Glen Burnie-attended by 100 of our closest friends. We were lucky enough to spend many years together before she passed away. Following her death, I sold our home to my eldest son (stepson but I consider all my step-kids mine). I wanted our son to have a chance at the same joy we experienced living in Northern Anne Arundel County. I am grateful that all of my step children are local (my oldest grandson is attending Broadneck High School). My other family includes my daughter, her husband and my almost 1 year old grandson who all live in Norfolk, VA.

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So who am I?  In essence, I’m a hard-working, dedicated and driven father. I value my family and my faith. To me, perseverance and passion matter. I plan to bring all of my experience and values to represent North County on the County Council.