Michael R. Cook of Akwesasne is an amazing gentleman — always there for family, friends and neighbors.
During our north country winters, it is Mike Cook who is always in readiness to plow the latest snowfall for others, especially for the elders in the community.
And it is Mike Cook who always makes sure the needs of each veteran are addressed and each one receives that needed care.
For the past 10 years, Mike has served as the commander of the local Andrew W. Cook American Legion Post 1479, which is on the Saint Regis Mohawk Reservation.
This past week, I learned Mike has been selected, through a popular vote, to chair the veterans committee for United South and Eastern Tribes.
“It’s an honor,” Mike told me when we visited about his new role as USET veterans affairs committee chairman.
As commander of the local American Legion, he has worked “helping our veterans get what they deserve.”
As we visited, Mike shared some of the most touching stories about local veterans and the difficulty they have in receiving health care.
Mike discussed how he strives to make sure each veteran receives needed care.
As we visited, Mike told me that Tribal Chief Paul Thompson had encouraged him to work for veterans beyond the local level.
“It’s something I never thought I would be in the position to do,” he said.
Mike explained that USET is comprised of 32 tribes from Maine to Florida, including Mississippi and Central Texas.
Working as chairman of the USET veterans affairs committee on the national level, Mike has been able to work for not only the veterans in the 32 tribes in USET but to bring back information.
He is now able to bring back information on the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs health care program, benefits and available services to the local veterans.
“I’m in awe … when I think of the knowledge in the room,” Mike told me as he spoke about meetings in Washington where he works for veterans dealing with subjects like agent orange and health care.
In that capacity he works with representatives including Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, he said.
Mike served in the U.S. Army Reserves for 22 years.
He served first as a mechanic in the Army, then a combat engineer and then as a medic.
As a medic, he worked in the operating room at Walter Reed Hospital, West Point Hospital and Fort Knox.
What amazing work.
How grateful each local veteran must be to know Mike Cook, commander of Andrew W. Cook American Legion Post 1479, is working for them — now on the national level.
And how grateful those he represents through USET must be as well to know he is at the helm of the veterans organization also working for their care.
As we visited, I learned the Mohawk name his parents had given him means “Makes people happy.”
What a perfect name for the gentleman who makes sure each veteran in need of health care receives it, each one who is no longer able to plow their driveway has a clear pathway to be able to drive during winter months.
I also believe I have seen this gentleman in Massena taking individuals shopping when they were unable to drive themselves.
How grateful I am there are amazing, caring neighbors and friends who make sure the needs of others are always addressed.
Thank you, Mike, for your service and for all you do for the veterans and for the community in which you live.
What a fitting tribute to be selected to also chair the veterans affairs committee for USET.
This is truly a well-deserved honor.
Today, a new month begins.
We are able to turn the page on our calendars and see “March” at the top of the page.
What a joy!
The countdown clock until spring’s arrival on my iPad tells me that spring will arrive at 5:26 p.m. on March 20.
Only 20 more days until the beginning of a new season and hopefully warmer, coatless days!
I am sure there will be column readers who will remind me this week that there usually is a huge snow storm at the end of March.
But I also know with the arrival of March, spring will surely fill the north country with warmer days — soon.
My thanks to the most helpful young woman at Dunkin’ in the Speedway Plaza on a Sunday morning.
I needed ground coffee for my coffee making at home, and Dunkin’ could definitely be considered “on my way home” from Massena.
As I stepped to the counter, I thought perhaps a muffin or donut might be needed, too.
The snowy ride to and from Massena certainly would warrant a treat to go with my morning coffee.
I asked for a blueberry muffin and then noticed a huge poster in full color promoting a chocolate croissant.
I placed my order with the clerk behind the counter, so kind and helpful.
She made sure the blueberry muffin was perfect for eating and then asked if I would like my croissant heated.
What a treat — I had never thought about that. It was delicious!
As I turned to leave Dunkin’, this lovely young woman Kayden (I asked her name but have no idea if my spelling is correct — my apologies) said, “Have an amazing day!”
How wonderful — the service was marvelous, the treats delicious and the clerk was wonderful as she wished me an amazing day.
My day was amazing when I saw the kindness of a clerk at Dunkin’.
Isn’t the north country a marvelous place to live and stop for a heated croissant on a Sunday morning? I certainly think so.
THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK
“The art of being happy lies in the power of extracting happiness from common things.”
— Henry Ward Beecher
Welcome to the discussion.
Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.