May 15, 2013-

Happy military appreciation month. I am recognizing someone in my life who is associated with the military every day. Today., I am recognizing Mike Thielen.

I met Mike through his step mother. Actually, I met Mike’s reputation through his step mother; at the time, Mike was deployed in Iraq.  I learned about Mike through the snacks and reading selection she would send him in his care packages. Twizzlers  by the bucket load and jerky by the pound… Mike was a talented football player for Richmond Burton high school before he joined the Army in 2003.  He was deployed to Iraq from 2005-2006. At the time, things were hot in Iraq- literally and figurately. I remember the day his unit was extended – it was a never ending dance of why they were not coming home.  After Mike returned to his base in Alaska, Mike served one more year before shifting to the National guard in 2007.  Mike ended his service in 2009.  It is very hard fro someone to live up to the bragging of a doting parent.  To hear Patricia tell it,  Mike was the kindest, funniest kid who loves his family and would give you the shirt off his back.  She was right. Mike is hysterical. Mike is hard working. Mike would give you the shirt off his back- (proof can be found on his Facebook, lol.) Seriously- Mike Thielen seemed a bit larger than life to hear Patricia and his brothers talk about him. All true.  Mike has that loveable lug kind of demeanor that makes everyone around him comfortable but a quick wit that lets you know how intelligent he is.

Mike helped me with a video project about what it was like to return home. I still remember his quote. “ it’s like asking someone their favorite color. If I say blue- and you ask me again, it doesn’t change that my favorite color is blue. Stop asking me what it was like.”  Mike worked hard and found his way home. In 2011, Mike married his beautiful wife Michelle and recently bought his first house. He then has another big win, the birth of his daughter, Cheyanne.

I see him with his daughter and see another side of him. Devoted, head over heels in love first time father.

Thank you for your help, your service and your willingness to reach back and help another vet. You are a great guy.