Petty Officer Third Class Michael Thompson, US Navy

Michael Thompson was born and raised in Granite Bay, California. He was a successful varsity athlete and became an Eagle Scout with the Boy Scouts of America before graduating from Granite Bay High School in 2002. Michael went to the University of California, Davis on a track and field scholarship before transferring to Arizona State University, the alma mater of a hero of his, Pat Tillman. At ASU, Michael played on the varsity football team while studying Political Science and International Relations. Michael graduated from Arizona State in 2006, and went on to join the WWE family in Tampa. Although he thoroughly enjoyed his time spent as a fledgling talent, Michael felt a calling to serve his country. With a strong patriotic spirit, Michael decided to follow in his grandfathers’ footsteps and enlist in the Navy.

Michael relished his decision to forgo a commission due to the experience he shared with fellow members of Riverine Squadron One, a river warfare combat unit. After a deployment to Iraq and sustaining serious injuries during small boat operations, Michael was eventually honorably discharged. It was during his medical review board process that he realized his true passion—to serve veterans with disabilities transitioning back into civilian life.

Having just completed his Masters of Public Administration, Michael is now pursuing his Master of Business Administration degree at Old Dominion University. He also acts as a Graduate Assistant in the university’s Military Connection Center. Michael plans to use his degrees to follow his dream of supporting veterans with disabilities, starting with the establishment and servitude of his brainchild, Student Veteran House.

Student Veteran House will provide physically accessible residential communities on college campuses throughout the nation. These communities will use Universal Design to provide supportive living quarters and promote camaraderie that enable veterans with disabilities to excel as they pursue higher education. Student Veteran House aims to house, educate, and successfully integrate veterans with disabilities back into academia. Visit studentveteranhouse.org to find out more.

When Michael isn’t studying, working on SVH, or serving his community through volunteering at farm markets and mentoring young athletes, he can be found on his paddleboard or beach cruiser in Virginia Beach, Virginia, where he lives with his wife, Ashley.