INTRODUCING VETERAN MICHAEL O’HARA
Comrade Michael has always had strong military role models. His grandfather was in the Infantry and served in the Great War. His father was in the Air Force and served in the Second World War. Brother John is a former Air Force Reservist (see M.L. issue, April 2019).
Comrade Michael wished to pursue a career in Aeronautical Engineering. In 1972 he applied to Royal Roads Military College (outside of the Esquimalt Military Base) near Victoria, British Columbia. At this time in our recent history, the College was attended only by male recruits. Female recruits were invited to attend two-three years later. The plan was to attend and get his education. Comrade Michael stated that albeit the accommodations and menu options were great, he found the requirements of a regimented daily life too confining.
After his first year, he had to make a decision to stay at the College or leave before boot camp. To stay would mean another eight years of military life. To leave mid-stream would necessitate the paying-back to the government what they had invested in his education, room and board. In June 1973, at age twenty-one Comrade Michael chose to leave the College but he took with him the new and added appreciation of discipline, and his continued interest in higher education. Further, Comrade Michael shared that albeit brief, the Military College experience has impacted his life in that he continues to question and learn from his experiences.
For a short period of time, Comrade Michael worked in the lumber industry as well as in irrigation. He never lost sight of his passion for a better education. He enrolled at the University of British Columbia and in 1982 he graduated with his degree as a Civil Engineer.
Early in the 1980’s, the province of British Columbia was in somewhat of an economic turmoil and in 1985, Comrade Michael packed up his family and they drove to Ontario. From 1985 to current date, he has been employed by the same Orangeville organization.
Originally a member of Branch 68 in Penetanguishene, Comrade Michael transferred to our Branch as it is closer to his home and this allows him to participate in a variety of activities. In June 2018 Comrade Michael suffered an All Terrain Vehicle accident. During the interview process, he mentioned that our Branch has been most accommodating and he is amazed at the accessibility of our numerous activities. Comrade Michael enjoys participating in the various fund-raising events, attending dinners, playing Euchre and is a member of the Wednesday Night Fun Darts group.
At the interview, Comrade Michael was asked, “What one thing would you change at our Branch?” His reply, “Not a thing. We have a great group of volunteers and things are running smoothly.”
In closing, Comrade Michael shared that the interview process was not too personal, nor too lengthy. It was good.
We thank you for your service.