TOPEKA (KSNT) – Growing up in Troy Ohio, Mike Powell wasn’t sure what the future would hold.
His military journey not only helped him grow up, but led him to the life he was always looking for. Mike was just a junior in high school when a phone call changed his life forever.
“One Saturday morning at about noon, as I was still in bed, my mom comes in and says ‘hey there’s an army recruiter on the phone, you be nice to him’,” Powell said. “He goes ‘hey Mike, have you ever thought about the Military?'”
After that phone call and a tour of the local military recruitment complex alongside a friend, Mike enlisted in the army.
“I knew in little Troy Ohio there wasn’t a whole lot of job opportunities and I wasn’t going to school, my family couldn’t afford it,” Powell said. “So it was the best thing for me, the best thing for my life period.”
Looking to stay stateside, Mike worked Supply for Engineering Equipment. With a focus on maintenance, his week to week focused on building bridges, ordering parts, working on two-and-a-half ton trucks and more. His time in the U.S. wouldn’t last long however as his team was briefly moved to Honduras.
“We had to go set up some airports or airstrips because of the war that was going on,” Powell said. “It was kind of a top-secret type thing. I didn’t know a whole lot about it, but I knew that was what I was doing. We were supplying them the materials that they needed to finish that job. We were stuck down there living in tents for three months. It was quite the experience.”
In addition to those months in Honduras, Mike served throughout the country. Being stationed in Missouri, Virginia and ending up in Fort Riley. His time in Kansas was so impactful, he couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.
“Kansas people are just fantastic out here,” Powell said. “As far as Fort Riley goes, we were just a group of young guys, and then coming on the weekends to Topeka to goof off and have fun. The people are just amazing. Having kids and getting married, getting a job, I’ll never leave. I love Ohio, that’s always home, but this is home too. Kansas is where my home’s at.”
Today, Mike is about to hit 30 years in Topeka working for Goodyear, a job his time in the military prepared him well for.