Welcome to the Wyakin Foundation’s Blog! Check out our posts every Friday for Wyakin Warrior stories, updates on what is new at Wyakin, and upcoming community events. To kick things off, we wanted to spotlight one of our most recent graduates, Michael Leone!
Michael grew up with the Director of Student and Veteran Affairs, George Nickel, in Youngstown, Ohio. Michael joined the Air Force at 20 years old and served for 24 years total as Security Police and a Combat Arms Instructor.
What makes transitioning out of the military so difficult?
“Jobs don’t just naturally transition over when you leave the military. When you leave you may have to start all over. If you are an E7 and below then you are almost like a worker bee. You don’t always get the same networking opportunities as higher rank individuals might.”
Michael spent time bouncing around to various blue-collar jobs but he said “I didn’t really know what I wanted to be when I grew up.” He went back to school to fill his time. He enrolled in a Master’s in Security Management from American Military University but he still lacked a direction on what the next step might be. That’s when he joined the Wyakin Foundation.
Why Did you Choose to Join the Wyakin Foundation?
“I wanted to continue to be part of the veteran community. No matter the generation we all share a common language and a common experience. Wyakin is a place for me.”
While Michael’s time in the Wyakin program was short compared to others, he was able to connect with fellow veterans and the community. He particularly enjoyed any community events that let him share about the Wyakin Foundation and give back. Michael attended the Touchmark Car Show and participated in the first Blood Drive for the American Red Cross. These experiences helped him realize that going forward he wanted to be an advocate and ambassador of the Wyakin program.
“New Wife, New Life. We have both raised our individual families and now we are ready to start a new adventure together.”
Michael and his fiancée Shelly will be moving to San Antonio, Texas, this summer. The Wyakin Foundation brought on its first Warrior from San Antonio in January 2022 and has plans to expand in that area. Michael’s goal is to be an advocate for the Wyakin program in the San Antonio region and to help recruit veterans and build community support. Michael looks forward to a reason to wear his custom Bespoke suit and to give back to a program he believes meets the needs of veterans regardless of where they are in their transition.
“I’m excited about being a part of the Wyakin Foundation expansion. I am passionate about seeing this be a success.”