Veteran showcase: Mike Patke takes to teaching after serving

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Mike Patke
Veteran Mike Patke assists at the Friends Uniting Neighbors Group food program every week. Anza Valley Outlook/Diane Sieker photo
Veteran Mike Patke, who volunteers and teaches around Anza, began in service to his country as a U.S. Army fuel and electrical systems repairman as a teenager. He enlisted in June 1975, 36 days after the fall of Saigon during the Vietnam War. This event marked not only the end of the war, but the beginning of the formal reunification of Vietnam under Communist rule. Patke’s basic training took place at Fort Jackson Military Installation in South Carolina. He was honorably discharged as a private first class May 29, 1977. “I wanted to be a man at 17-years-old, and exchange my Boy Scout uniform for an Army uniform,” Patke said. “I came from a large family of seven kids. I was No. 2 with an older sister, four younger brothers and a younger sister. My parents had to sign a per
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