Life hasn’t been easy for Mike Irwin, but he says that hasn’t changed his attitude on life.
The retired police officer and writer lost his father, also a police officer, after a deadly encounter with an armed suspect. Irwin himself was in his teens at the time and says during his high school years, he worked four jobs to support himself, his mother, and three other siblings. In these years, Irwin said he was fortunate to have teachers that understood what he was going through. He remembers that they would make accommodations for him as he pursued his dream of becoming a police officer like his father. He joined the Toronto Metropolitan Police Force in the ’70s, married, and had a daughter. Then when he was 25, in pursuit of a suspect, a fall crushed both his kneecaps, rendering him unable to walk.
Yet despite a stint in a wheelchair and a long recovery, Irwin says he stayed positive through it all. And in times like this, he wants to share his story and what he’s learned from it.
Irwin says that we are conditioned and trained to see what’s wrong with the world and ignore what’s right. He says even with the death of his father, he wouldn’t have moved and he wouldn’t have met his wife. He reminds people that good comes out of everything, and it is important to remain positive. To those who feel like they are losing hope during these times, he says to make the best of what you got. Irwin has thought outside the box many times to help achieve his goals. He tells of how he was able to rig a wheelchair elevator from a bus onto a horse trailer and was able to use that to go horseback riding. Even small things, like using different tools you wouldn’t think would be useful in some instances. While he did have many frustrating days, like giving up his job at the force after his injury, he never lost hope.
In the end, he suggests riding out the storms as they come, and make the best of what you’ve got. He says to do good in your corner of the globe, and while you can’t fix the world, you can do well and be kind to your neighbours, friends and even strangers.
Irwin came to the Bancroft area when his wife’s parents invited them to their cottage in Harcourt Park in the ’60s. They bought the cottage in the ’80s and converted it into an 18,000 square foot home. He says he would have moved to the area sooner, but Bancroft OPP did not have any openings at the time. He currently lives around Paudash with his wife in a home on his son and daughter-in-law’s property.