By Lona Davis

HERO is a huge word.  We hear the word often, but not nearly enough.  We are surrounded by heroes every day. They are easy to spot if you expand your view and observe those around you.

Mike Lanum is not only a hero for COACH Kids, but is one in his daily life.  A retired Fire Chief, he is married to Fran for 46 years. Their children and grandchildren are a great source of joy for them and you will often see them at Rossville sporting events cheering them on.  Mike recognizes the need for a listening ear, kind heart, and a huge smile. “A small amount of your time can make a big difference in a life.”

Mike has been a mentor for COACH Kids for over six years.  His reason for becoming a mentor was that he feels we all need a little hope and someone who cares. “I have always been a good listener, but now I am even better.  The impact to my life is that it puts a smile on my face. I enjoy knowing that I am trying to make a difference in a life, no matter how big or small.”

The Local Heroes Program of COACH Kids is our school-based program.  Referrals come through several different avenues. While children are mostly referred by a teacher or counselor, at times we are contacted by a concerned parent.  In March of 2018 we heard from a mom who had realized her son had need for a special friend in his life. When Mike became available for a new match at the start of the school year, all of our prayers were answered.  Landon needed a calming influence and he loves both firefighters and police officers. Mike certainly fit the bill!Landon’s mom, Stephanie O’Neal, says “My husband and I are forever grateful for Mike’s willingness to come into Landon’s life to be a positive influence! He’s such a kind and patient person, which for Landon, is exactly the kind of adult he needs.  Landon always speaks so highly of “his Mike.” Landon has said multiple times that when he grows up, he’s going to be a firefighter just like Mike”. Thank you for matching them together!”

You can be a hero, too! Contact the COACH Kids office and talk to Lona about how you can go into a school 30 minutes a week and change a kid’s world for the better! (765) 654-8812