Michael Kinney confirms veterans’ wellbeing with ‘buddy checks’

MADISON – Michael Kinney may be ‘retired,’ but he isn’t idle. Kinney believes it’s extremely important to do buddy-checks for his fellow Legionnaires in Madison American Legion, Post 229.

“No veteran should feel alone. We should all call another veteran at various times to check on them,” Kinney said.

“Every veteran is important and should know they have a friend and can always call ‘988’ and press ‘1’ for help and assistance,” Kinney said. “If you’re a veteran in crisis or concerned about one, you can call that number 24 hours per day/7 days per week.”

Kinney entered the U.S. Air Force on July 2, 1973. After completing Basic Training at Lackland AFB, Texas, his first assignment was Chanute AFB, Illinois. He completed Basic Meteorological training.

“At Patrick AFB, Florida, I worked at both Patrick and Cape Canaveral. In 1975, I went to Scott AFB, Illinois. I worked on Flight Line providing weather observations,” Kinney said.

Next, he provided weather observations at Zweibrucken AFB, Germany, then was assigned to Scott AFB for one year and returned to Germany with 2nd Armored Division at Merrill Barracks in Nuremburg. During that time, he attended a specialized forecasting school at Chanute AFB for six months and completed his assignment at Merrill Barracks.

At Air Force Global Weather Center in Omaha, Neb., he worked in the Tropical Forecasting Section. In 1985, he was selected for joint-service relief force in Honduras to forecast weather for planes in missions.

His next assignments were Kunsan AFB, South Korea; Scott AFB at Environmental Tactical Applications Center; and Camp Humphries, South Korea. His final assignment before retirement in 1993 was Fort Benning, Georgia.

“I retired from the U.S. Air Force, holding the rank of Technical Sargent (E-6) on March 31, 1994, from Maxwell AFB, having served 20 years, eight months,” Kinney said.

He earned medals for Air Force and Army Commendation; Air Force Achievement (two oak-leaf clusters); Korea Medal; and Defense Service with Bronze Star.

After retiring from the Air Force, Kinney used the GI Bill and Illinois Veterans’ Grant to obtain two master’s degrees and a teaching certificate. After graduation, he visited Air Force friends in Madison, who suggested that Kinney interview at the new high school, Bob Jones.

“Sue Hall interviewed me. I got the job two days later,” Kinney said.

Michael’s wife, Michele Kinney, volunteers as Membership Chairperson, Madison American Legion Auxiliary Unit; First Vice President, American Legion Auxiliary, District 12; Veteran Service Chairperson, Hunt Springs Daughters of the American Revolution; and other veteran outreach.

Michael and Michele met and were married in Madison by a military priest from Redstone Arsenal. “Madison is home to us, and we love it here,” Michael said.

Kinney earned an associate’s degree, applied science, Community College of the Air Force; bachelor’s degree, political science, University of Maryland Global College; two master’s degrees, political development and Asian history, Illinois State University; and teaching certificate, doctorate’s degree in history, Illinois State.

“After teaching advanced-placement history at Bob Jones for four years, I worked for Calhoun Community College for 17.5 years,” he said.

Currently, Kinney participates with North Alabama Veteran Fraternal Organizations Coalition; Fraternal Order of the Eagles 3263; American Legion, Post 229 in Madison with Oratorical Contest and Alabama Boys State; Sons of the American Legion; and serves as American Legion, District 12 Commander.

The Kinneys’ son, Anders, graduated from Bob Jones and the University of Alabama in Huntsville with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering. Currently, Anders is pursuing graduate school.

Michael grew up in Iuka, Ill., “a beautiful, small farming community in southern Illinois.” “I relax by watching cooking shows, reading and traveling,” Michael said.



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