MIKE REEVE spoke briefly during Chamber AM on Tuesday, April 10 at the Owosso Big Boy. Reeve was recently hired as the new director of the Shiawassee County Veterans Affairs and Services office, located in downtown Corunna in the Surbeck building.
(Independent Photo/Karen Mead-Elford)
by Karen Mead-Elford, co-editor
“I will not turn a person away,” Mike Reeve, the new director of the Shiawassee County Veterans Affairs and Services office shared. Reeve is a retired U.S. Army major with a 27-year career, including 10 years enlisted before entering officer candidate school, where he was commissioned as a 2nd Lt. in 1997, and then spent 17 years as an officer. During his career, he has seen 22 countries, had six deployments, and faced two campaigns in Iraq, where he was injured in 2007 from a rocket attack that left him 30 percent disabled. He then endured two years of physical therapy. “I still have all my parts and pieces,” he said, “though I will still need back surgery at a later time.”
His experience as a disabled veteran has allowed him exceptional insight regarding frustrations that veterans often face. “I’ve gone through the injury, to filing the claim, to going through physical therapy, to the doctors visits, and the use of the VA system. I’ve utilized the VA and these services, and understand the angst and disappointment related to cancellations and other concerns. I’ve walked in those shoes, so I can empathize with veterans,” stated Reeve.
Reeve recently stepped in as director: a position vacated by William Archer who resigned last fall. The Shiawassee County Veterans Affairs and Services office is located on the third floor of the Surbeck building in Corunna, across from the courthouse. It is easily accessible by an elevator at the back of the building.
For the three-week period Reeve has been involved in his new position, he has focused on what he refers to as a “resource collection period,” as he gathers information about county proceedings and resources so that his office can forward that information directly to the veterans they serve. His goal is that all veterans visiting his office will know their situation is important to him. “I want them to leave feeling hopeful and empowered.” Part of the plan he is currently developing will include follow-ups in case management flow – again, taking the time to let veterans know that his office is there for them.
Reeve, who grew up in Wyoming, though he often spent summers on a family farm in Nebraska where he learned how to farm and ranch, moved to Michigan from South Korea in 2012. Once in Michigan, he was assigned to a unit based out of Waterford, though after retiring from the Army in 2015, he became the director of veterans affairs at MIAT (Michigan Institute of Aviation and Technology) in Canton.
After moving to Michigan, he purchased a house on a lake in Howell, and he openly shared that he fell in love with the state so he “decided to make this my retirement home.” He has a blended family including six children ages 13 through 22, and a very special first grandchild named Phoenix, who is just two months old.
“There really are no such things as problems,” Reeve shared part of his work philosophy, “Just solutions that haven’t been found yet, though sometimes the quickest solution may not be the best.”
The Shiawassee County Veterans Affairs and Services office is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., though it closes noon to 1 p.m. for lunch. For more information, please call (989) 743-2231 or visit www.shiawassee.net/Veterans-Affairs/. The Shiawassee County Veterans Affairs Committee is appointed through the county commissioners to meet monthly to oversee the operation of the office.