What can I say, Mike was my best friend.
Mike lived with me and my family for about a year—his last year of high school. I loved him and my parents did too. They treated him just like a member of our family, and Mike was very respectful. We were like brothers and shared everything. We’d even share a tooth brush if we had to!
Mike was such a solid and real friend—very loyal. He wasn’t full of crap like a lot of other guys. We were both talkers and free spirits just wanting to have some fun. We let it all out, so we got along great from the beginning. Even as friends we’d get into some fights just for fun. It usually started out with one of us saying something like, “Who’s tougher here?” Then we’d all out and fight—punch, wrestle. No hurt feelings--just a couple of crazy guys. He was tough too! I was in boxing with him for a little while. He really looked up to Ron Carlson. Mike thought he was a great guy.
Some of our favorite things to do together were going to my parents’ cabin, water skiing, hanging out by the river, talking all night under the stars, just hanging out and having fun. We talked about everything, and we loved listening to music. Some of Mike’s favorite bands were Def Leppard, Tesla, and Led Zeppelin. Still to this day, I’ll hear music on the radio and think yeah, Mike would love this song. It’s crazy.
We’d have so much fun just hanging out together. One summer we lived out at my parents’ cabin near Annandale. Man was that fun!
Mike would write me 5-page letters when he was in the Army. He’d call me before he came home for a visit, and I’d pick him up from the airport. I’d let him take my brand new Thunderbird and my Ninja wherever he wanted. If it was mine, it was his to use.
Here is Scott's car that he let Mike use on his visits home, and the car in which Scott brought us (Chris, Mike and myself) to Dubuque one summer.
We had so much fun on our trip down to Hardie’s in Dubuque and on the Mississippi on his uncle’s boat. That trip stuck with me and is why I have a boat today!
I was totally blown away when I heard about Mike’s accident. I didn’t believe it until I saw him for myself. He was doing so well in the Army. He really had something to be proud of. I sat by his casket and cried for about 15 minutes, and I’m not the crying kind of guy. It was one of the biggest traumas in my life. I miss the guy.