13 Nov Mike Harmon
“I had a pretty rough past. I’m surprised I didn’t end up dead.” By his early 20’s, Mike Harmon had hit rock bottom. Homeless and living on the streets, Mike’s predicament was made even more complex due to his severe anxiety and long-running history with seizures. After examining his life and considering the family that he loved so much, Mike knew a serious change was in order.
Nearly two decades later, Mike has passed through many dark valleys to get where he is today. A four-time Employee of the Month at 3 separate organizations, he currently works as a jack-of-all-trades at Pizza Hut and at Passages.
Aside from pouring all of himself into his work, Mike also serves as President of Navigators, an organization that empowers individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and sits on the board of Whitley Crossings Neighborhood Corporation. During his term at Navigators, he has addressed politicians at the Indiana State Capitol and organized multiple fundraisers for the cause and people that mean so much to him. Because the act of giving back runs thick within his blood, he also serves as an usher and safety crew member at his church in Fort Wayne.
Since coming to Passages a few years ago, Mike’s confidence and worldview have shifted in many unexpected ways. After helping him get plugged into a travel agency that specializes in vacations for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, he has visited Lambeau Field, Raymond James Stadium, The NFL Hall of Fame, The Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame, Gatlinburg, TN, Hawaii, New York City, and walked the streets of Downtown Disney in Orlando, Florida. Each are places he has visited since 2018. “I’ve actually done more since I’ve been with Passages than ever before.”
Three years ago, Mike would have considered it an impossibility to take in a Broadway musical like Wicked or enjoy a stroll through Times Square without having an anxiety attack. In fact, the mere thought of such a thing was enough to completely overwhelm him. Now, he credits so much of his growth to his time at Passages and the belief the organization has consistently poured into him from Day One.
What do friends and family think about his unmistakable transformation? They are not only inspired by his incredible change but a little bit jealous, too. “People say I’ve become a world traveler.”
For Mike, the journey has only just begun.
(story adapted from the Northeast Indiana Disability Advocacy Coalition)