Eighteen years ago when I first met Mike…I wouldn’t have guessed that one day…I would consider him a hero.
Today…as I look at what he has accomplished over the years…he’s become one of my hero’s. The quiet kind…that live an ordinary life of excellence and perseverance. Not looking for applause or recognition…but someone who has a passion for excellence that he applies to everyday life.
Not to say that Mike is obsessive compulsive…but by golly when he does something it has to be done right. And when it’s not…it wouldn’t be unheard of to see Mike edit, correct, change, revise…or start all over again. Not just the big things like properly documenting an investigation, installing cameras or preparing an emergency manual. But things as simple as wrapping up a power cord to put in his well organized computer bag.
When it comes to training and showing people how to do it right…call on Mike. If you need a manual to aid in training…call Mike.
When I found myself ready to pull my hair out…because a less than conscientious employee was turning in another sloppy report or file…I could always find an understanding soul to commiserate with when I talked to Mike.
After a while…we all just learned to accept these quirks as Mike just being Mike. I use to like to tease him and tell him we were going to get him therapy. But honestly…when I grow up…I want to have that same passion for excellence that Mike does.
I probably I realized how extraordinary Mike is when tragedy struck his family…leaving him as a single parent. Without hesitation…he stepped up to the plate. A devastating experience for anyone…but he committed himself to being the best dad that he could be to his beloved daughter. Through love…they got through it together…and still do.
You might think that one so neat, tidy and organized is way too serious. Let me assure you…that’s not so. Mike is a fun loving guy…and always appreciates a good joke. When you get the likes of Mike, Peter C. and Kris together…watch out. Add to that equation…the instigators Robert or Louis…you’d better take cover. You’re likely to be the next target of their latest joke!
Through all these years…Mike has had a deep desire to go into law enforcement. Ever since I first met him…I knew he’d make a great cop! If I ever turn to the dark side…and had to be arrested…I’d want to be arrested by Mike.
Not only is Mike a man of excellence…he is a practical soul. Leaving a company that you’ve been with for over twenty years…is not an easy decision. Even if it means pursuing your dream. Not a lot of folks have that kind of courage.
However…when our company was recently sold…Mike decided to make that leap. He decided to pursue his dream…and go into law enforcement. Not only do you have to apply…you have to undergo background checks and numerous tests to make sure you are fit to serve. So…after he applied…then came the waiting game. After many months…I was so excited when Mike shared the good news…that he had been accepted into the Sheriff’s program.
Then came the hard part…many weeks of training. Lots of folks enter the program…but not all finish. It’s a tough program that weeds out those aren’t able to cut it…or decide it’s not their cup of tea. Mike’s a practical man…and did not over estimate his chances of success. He knew he had a tough road to hoe…but took it one day at a time.
This week I received a note that Mike is graduating from the Sheriff’s Academy and will begin working in the field he’s aspired to for ever so long. Timing is everything…and unfortunately…I won’t be able to attend the ceremony. But I’ll tell you…I’ll be there in spirit and bursting in pride for this man who is my friend and my hero.
Phrases like…simply the best…seem contrived and over the top. But when you hold that phrase up to the pattern of Mike…it’s a very close match.
May the Lord protect you as you serve and protect our community…in this, your life long dream fulfilled. My prayers are with you. Congratulations Mike!