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Mike West, In Memory

Mike West

We are mourning the loss of our dear friend Mike West, who served as a Career Coach and workshop facilitator at EMERGE from 2012 – 2016. He passed away from lung cancer on Monday, June 20th after over a year of fighting the disease.

At EMERGE's 1101 West Broadway location, Mike was never able to take more than one step at a time. One person would rush up, asking him to sign paperwork. Another would call out from the computer lab, wanting him to review their resume. Another just needed someone to talk to. Mike stopped each time and always said, “Sure. I can help you.” He made a point to make time for each person.

When in front of a classroom, Mike drew everyone in. He had the rare capacity to be profound, yet approachable; both poised and familiar. One of Mike’s special abilities was deeply understanding people, and knowing how to walk beside them. Every day, he helped EMERGE participants feel they were not alone. Many will remember him calling this, “meeting people where they are at.” It has become a standard of compassion at EMERGE that those who remember him, and those new to EMERGE, continue to strive for.

Mike was someone his colleagues could count on. He was completely willing to go above and beyond, and he always said thank you. While not the first to speak, nor the loudest, Mike spoke when it mattered. He advocated for us to always put our participants first. Mike’s New Beginnings Career Workshop was often the first stop for job seekers trying to redefine themselves. After meeting Mike for the first time, one participant shared, “I went to the car and I cried because I felt like there was hope for me. I felt like I had a purpose.”

Throughout his years at EMERGE, Mike helped hundreds of people recognize their self-worth. In a thank you letter to Mike, one participant wrote, “When I came to the workshop I was at a low point and feeling hopeless. By the end of the week I knew I was capable of achieving success. Your workshop is something I will never forget and one of the best things that has ever happened to me.”

We agree. Because of Mike, countless people - EMERGE participants, coworkers, and community members - regained hope, rediscovered their purpose, and achieved better lives. They will be part of his legacy. Thank you, Mike, for serving with EMERGE. We will miss you. 

LOCATION CHANGE: A service will be held for Mike West at Shiloh Temple 1201 West Broadway Avenue N. Minneapolis, MN 55411 from 11am – 1pm on Saturday, June 25th. Memorials can be made out to Kimberly Roberts and sent directly to the church.

EMERGE Community Development    |    1834 Emerson Avenue North    |    Minneapolis, MN 55411

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