Always Follow Your Heart

Mitch Wheeler during his law enforcement career

And remember, “Being happy is the most important thing in life” said Mitch Wheeler during his distinguished lecture talk as an UMPI Alumni, opening in the best way possible the lecture series for 2019.

Mitch Wheeler surely had a momentous life full of challenges, difficult decisions, constant change and the most critical, success.

Wheeler is an  UMPI Alumni, and he is from the class of 2017. From his early life up until today he changed multiple careers and professions, while always listening to his heart and what fulfilled his passion for life and helping others.

Wheeler is from Bridgewater, Maine.  The County was always the place where he felt at home and where he always wanted to return. After high school, he decided to join the Air Force. During his military career he visited many places both in the States and around the world.  Wheeler demonstrated an exceptional charisma and love for his work. He received a metal of heroism and many other distinctions, but he always knew that something was driving him to help people.

During his lecture, Wheeler always referred to the importance of hard work. “Go above and beyond and you will get noticed, or at least you did your best,” Wheeler said while talking about his military career and the difficulties he faced. After many years in the military, he decided that he had to follow his dream and passion, which was to help others. Also during that time, he missed home and he always referred to his home as “The County is Me.”  He really wanted to come back and work for his people here in Maine.

The next step of his life was to join law enforcement. He joined the Cumberland County Police Department.   He was really happy with this change, because he knew that the military did not fulfill him anymore and that he needed a change: he needed to follow his heart.

Nevertheless, Wheeler was very excited and proud to start his career as a policeman. He graduated top 10 of his class from the police academy, which is an impressive accomplishment and one that shows his dedication to follow his dreams and do what his mind is set to do. After a short career in the Cumberland County P.D. came the opportunity he was looking for.  He got to move back home when he was able to join the Presque Isle Police Department, under the sheriff’s office, which was his long-term dream.

One of the most challenging years in Wheeler’s life was the year 2007, a year in which he decided to change lots of things in his life. During that year he lost his father, and that was something that had a huge impact on him. That same year, many job-related changes made him feel unhappy with his job, and he lost the ability to feel the same excitement as he did when he first started. That decision was problematic for him, since he did not know anything else to do,  He was always serving people from either the military or the police forces.

Doing research while thinking about his future, Wheeler knew that he had one passion: physical therapy.  But he knew that the only program that offered a PTA degree was in Bangor, and he did not want to leave his home. This is where UMPI comes into the story. With the help of his wife, he found out that UMPI offered a PTA program.  “It was meant to be” was his response when he decided to join the program and open new doors for his future. With the help of UMPI and his hard work and sacrifices, he graduated with a PTA degree and a new career that makes him feel accomplished and happy with what life had offered him.

Wheeler during his talk always referred back to his family and friends who meant so much to him.  He said that he would never have been able to succeed without them.

“Never try to be something or someone you are not.  Always be yourself” was Wheeler’s advice.   He also said that if you need to do something, you need to put the work in and do it yourself.  Nothing will be easy, but if you want to do something, work hard and you will make it.

Junior Max Bushman, who attended the presentation, said, “It was a good speech to show that you can take many paths even this life takes you in a different direction….  The atmosphere was very friendly and Mitch Wheeler with his ability to express his thoughts increased the audience attention and interest”

Wheeler was certainly a great inspiration to work for more dedication and self-improvement.  We hope that he will always keep helping the community and keep inspiring more people to reach their dreams.