Evergreen's Veterans Reception Nov 5

October 27, 2009

Join President Thomas L. Purce to honor Evergreen’s veterans and dependents at the 2nd Annual Evergreen Veterans Reception.

Featuring Keynote Speaker Mike Gregoire, Washington’s First Gentleman and U.S. Army Veteran

  • Thursday, November 5, 2009, 4:00 p.m.
  • The Evergreen Longhouse, Room 1001
  • 2700 Evergreen Parkway NW, Olympia, WA 98505

We will recognize Evergreen’s newly admitted veterans with a ceremonial presentation of the challenge coin medallion.

Presented by the Veterans of Evergreen Transition and Success Team.

More on Mike Gregoire:

Mike Gregoire’s daughters will tell you he is the calm, easy-going history buff who spent countless hours carting them from soccer practice to piano lessons, from ballet to church groups. He is the best backpacking companion, one patient gardener and the ultimate dessert chef. Around the Gregoire dinner table, he is the one who will goad others into a heated debate and then recline in his chair calmly taking in the scene.

Mike Gregoire was born and reared in Everett, Washington. His mom taught elementary school in the Everett school district for 35 years. His father worked as a private contractor and union carpenter. A graduate of Everett High School 40 years ago, Mike remains connected to many of his high school friends — he and his football buddies regularly get together to practice the art of poker.

Mike graduated from the University of Washington with a history degree in 1968. While student teaching at a Seattle high school his final year, he considered pursuing a career as a teacher. During finals week of his senior year, Mike received his draft notice. While his classmates celebrated their graduation day, Mike began basic training at Fort Lewis.

After completing field artillery Officer Candidate School at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, Mike was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the air defense artillery corps. He then served a tour of duty as a platoon leader and convoy commander with the “Delta Express” in the Mekong Delta in Vietnam.

Upon returning to Washington, Mike met Chris in September 1971, when they were both working for the Department of Social and Health Services. For their first date, Mike packed a picnic lunch and took Chris on a hike. After several hours of wandering, Chris realized they were lost, and started wondering if Mike’s navigational skills had been left behind in the Delta. Three years later, however, Mike navigated Chris perfectly down the wedding aisle. He and Chris have two adult daughters: Courtney, an attorney, and Michelle, a recent college graduate. For the next 30 years, Mike worked as a health care investigator for the state of Washington. Retiring in July 2003 certainly hasn’t slowed him down. He harvests a bumper crop of tomatoes, apples and pears; stays active in St. Michael’s Parish; and fits in an occasional racquetball game.

Mike’s service in the military spurred a lifelong commitment to veterans’ affairs. He is particularly concerned about the effects of Agent Orange and veterans’ mental health issues. He is a lifetime member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and a member of the American Legion and the Vietnam Veterans of America. As Washington’s First Gentleman, or “First Mike” as he prefers to be called, he tours the state to meet with veterans and active military personnel. He lobbies the Governor over dinner on veterans’ issues and is committed to making sure our state lives up to its commitments to our servicemen and servicewomen.

Mike Gregoire is an advocate for children’s and family literacy. As a parent, Mike recognizes the importance of reading with children. He also knows that strong reading skills prepare young people for academic success and a lifelong love of learning. Mike is traveling across the state to visit schools and libraries. He reads to elementary school students and thanks teachers, principals and librarians for their good work. He has visited at least one elementary school in each of the state’s 39 counties.