Colonel (retired) Michael Waggett was raised in Rochester, NY, where his parents instilled in him a strong desire to always give back and help the less fortunate. He attended Syracuse University on a full ROTC scholarship with the U.S. Air Force, and at age 22, became a combat ready F-111 fighter pilot serving with NATO in the United Kingdom.
After 11 years of active duty, Michael joined the Air National Guard full time, and refocused his career on leadership and education training. He earned three master's degrees in Education, Military Operations, and National Security Strategy, and spent the rest of his 24-year career training a new generation of pilots and officers to be successful and effective leaders. In 2009, he retired from the Air Force as the 8th Commander of The I.G. Brown Training and Education Center in Knoxville, Tennessee.
"When I left the military, I knew I wanted to continue to give back in whatever community we lived in," Michael says of him and his wife, Sandy. That turned out to be the Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri. There, he has served as President of the Kiwanis chapter and on several community boards; organized fundraisers for nearby Fort Leonard Wood, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and the March of Dimes; and has been recognized with the Missouri Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder Veterans Service Award.
Michael's biggest contribution of all, though, is through he and his wife's company, MSW Interactive Designs. In addition to building over 30 websites for non-profits free-of-charge, they give their employees one hour of paid time off a week to volunteer. "There are a lot of people who aren't as lucky, or as successful, or as fortunate, or as blessed as I've been," Michael says. "I want to continue the tradition of teaching folks to give back."
Michael's charity is his local chapter of Veterans of Foreign Wars, Post #5923. To learn more about their work in the Lake of the Ozarks region, visit http://www.lakevfw.org.