People of Georgian: Veteran finds community in college’s military club

Nov. 11, 2022

What’s your story?

The Georgian community is full of unique, inspiring perspectives —and we’re sharing them as part of an ongoing series.

People of Georgian: Meet Mike Whittaker

I wanted to join the military my whole life.

My uncle was in special forces and, before that, he was infantry. He also did airborne forces, and he finished off his career as a military police officer.

I also have several cousins in the military, some of which are nurses and one who’s in Halifax in the navy.

So, I’ve always been inspired to join and wanted to be my generation’s contribution.

Are you a member of the military community?

Learn more about Georgian’s military-connected college supports, including sources of federal funding, as well as to find out if they’re eligible for the communication credit.

‘I got injured very early in my career during training’

When I first joined, it actually was a very welcoming and open atmosphere.

Unfortunately, I didn’t make it to deployment. I got injured very early in my career during training, and then I was sent home, so I was given an honorable discharge, but it’s still not really the experience I was looking for.

I’ve been just recovering ever since, doing physio, massage therapy, acupuncture.

So, this time around, as a veteran and president of Georgian’s Military Veterans Club, I get to help more veterans. That’s the type of thing I’m really interested in.

I joined the club about two years ago. I originally needed extra help with school, and they were able to assist me and help me think of things a little bit differently so I could focus and do better. My grades have since improved.

Now, we’re trying to grow and expand the club so that way we can have a higher membership.

We meet once a month, and we share stories every meeting, hang out and get to know each other a little bit better.

Military club helps veterans open up about school, life, military experience

It’s actually been really beneficial to me socially because it’s been getting me out of my shell and getting me to talk to people – and actually talk about the things that have gone on, especially in the military.

Military people can have a bit of a tough exterior at first, but I find that when they come together and they’re predominantly around other military people, they’re more open.

The club is important to me because we’re offering support for veterans and for anyone who’s a member of the club, and we’re assisting them with anything school related or non-school related.

Let’s say they need help with dealing with veteran organizations such as Veterans Affairs Canada, that sort of thing. We can assist with that.

It’s a good social and support network for helping members flourish here at Georgian – and also outside of Georgian.

We help with anything. If anybody needs any support, we’re willing to give it.

Mike, right, places a poppy during a Georgian Remembrance Day ceremony.

Join the club

The Military Veterans Club meets once a month at The Last Class at Barrie Campus.

The next meeting is Wednesday, Dec. 7 at 4 p.m. Drop by! Email Mike at GeorgianSMclub@gmail.com for more information.

We have many members that have been long, storied careers within the Canadian Armed Forces.

We have a few members from the air force, infantry, and some who have worked in all areas of the military.

We’re also open to anyone who has served in any military around the world, not just the Canadian Armed Forces. We’re also open to anyone who has served in policing, and we’re also open to family members of police and military.

Georgian a military-connected college

Georgian is now a military-connected college, and it means the world to me. It gives veterans more support. For example, if you have prior military experience, you can get a communications credit covered, which is amazing because it saves you some money and time.

The Military Veterans Club means the world to me because my military career unfortunately didn’t turn out very well. I find it has helped me become more professional and more focused on leading.

Because of the people in the club and their stories, I just want to do more to help them.

Mike Whittaker, part-time student in Georgian’s Law Clerk program and president of the college’s Military Veterans Club.

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