BGSU student serves community with U.S. Army National Guard

Michael Flipse, sport management major, working at Toledo Food Bank

By Meredith Troxel ’20

michael flipseOne Bowling Green State University student has ‘geared up’ to help the community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Michael Flipse, a senior sport management major from Pemberville, Ohio, serves in the 148th U.S. Army National Guard as a mortarman, or 11-C. According to the U.S. Army website, a mortarman loads mortars and even employs and fires mines.

He was called to activate by his readiness NCO (non-commissioned officer) and had one day between receiving his call and having to report for activation. Flipse and his colleagues were activated until May 30, at the earliest. They are working at the Toledo Food Bank, helping pack and distribute food to families in Toledo.

“Working with the food bank has been a great experience,” Flipse said. “There is an awesome group of people working there who want to positively impact and help the community. People tend to smile and start small talk. We have joked a lot with the people in Toledo, really just trying to smile and show them we’re going to get through this weird time.”

In March, Flipse’s activation group was heading home from the day and saw a crash on the side of the road. The driver had overdosed and loss control of the vehicle. His group was more than four cars behind the crash, but they pulled over to help. His friend and fellow soldier, bashed the driver’s window, pulling her out and helping while they waited for the paramedics to arrive.

Like Flipse, many BGSU students in the National Guard and Reserve have been helping their communities while also balancing the rest of remote learning. The Office of Nontraditional and Military Student Services (NTMSS) at BGSU has continued to help students stay up to date with their online classwork while working full days in their military activation sites.
 
BGSU has 700 military affiliated students and about 200 are Ohio National Guard and Reserve students. BGSU students start their military career in different periods of their college career. Many join the military after starting at the University, while others have completed basic training and received their assignments at their unit before joining BGSU as a student.

NTMSS helps students balance military and student life, while supporting them during military activations and deployments. The office also awards scholarships to its military soldiers and students and stays open outside of office hours (8 a.m. to 5 p.m.) to help students whose schedules do not run in that same time frame.

“We assist students from application to graduation,” said Dr. Barbara Henry, assistant vice president of Nontraditional and Military Student Services, “We help students connect to their military benefits, provide academic advising, support the Student Veterans of America student organization, provide peer tutoring in math and science, and peer support for transitioning military students new to BGSU.”