William “Monsoon” Mimiaga – Veteran And California Teacher Of The Year
He’s a Marine Major with 31 years in uniform and combat tours in Vietnam and the Gulf War. He has faced down fear, hunger, pain, death, grief, and cancer, but it was retirement that proved to be the one challenge he couldn’t navigate. So he got his Masters and became a teacher. But not just any teacher, for just any kids. Nope. This guy teaches the kids society deems expendable, the kids who often agree with that view, having never been taught otherwise.
He has been shanked, beaten, and sometimes broken by these kids, but he always comes back for more.
California Teacher of the Year
In time he began reaching them, earning their respect and trust. This combat-hardened Marine found these kids helped him battle his own demons just as much as he helped them. Teaching became a mission. He doesn’t just teach to a curriculum. He teaches about life, and overcoming struggles, and rising above the mold they were born into. He can’t save every one of them, and he mourns each one lost. But he finds strength in the visits from the men and women who return to tell him how he changed their lives, and thank him. He has been named California’s Teacher of the Year – Three times. And these are just some of the ways Major William “Monsoon” Mimiaga has left his mark on the world.
American Snippets Co-Founder Barb Allen came to know Monsoon through the Snowball Express event, prominently featured throughout this online magazine. He has become a mentor to her boys and a friend to her. Through Barb, American Snippets co-founder Dave Brown now also calls Monsoon a friend.
He may be an acquired taste for some, with his boisterous “Ooorah!” preceding him into virtually every occasion. Hugs are strongly deployed in lieu of handshakes, and pretty much whatever runs through his mind comes out of his mouth. But once One learns to navigate this personality, his warm spirit and fierce loyalty, his profound patriotism and remarkable resilience outweigh all else. He is a dedicated advocate for our veterans, most recently those who suffer from the effects of the Burn Pits, and we know he will share these stories here.
He carries his own wounds and grapples with his own share of life’s regrets, but these all make him more special to those who are blessed to know him. We are super excited to share him with our American Snippets subscribers through Monsoon Mondays. We ask you to comment freely, share generously, and let this combat veteran and role model to so many know you appreciate him!