July 2022 Message from Mike McGovern

Message from President Mike McGovern

Out of many diverse needs, Mill Creek becomes one membership

Not completely out of form for this part of Kansas and Missouri, it seems that once again we have gone from winter to summer in the short space of a week. I hope the weather change has given you a chance to get out to the club and enjoy the facilities, the fellowship, and the exercise of your Second Amendment rights.

As your new Mill Creek Rifle Club president, elected in March, I want to thank you for allowing me to serve, both in my former position as construction director and now as your president. I have been a proud member of Mill Creek since 2005 and a National Rifle Association member since 2000. I consider it a special privilege to be handed this important opportunity at another turning point in the development of our growing organization—a chance and a responsibility to better serve the growing Mill Creek Rifle Club membership and to encourage their increasingly diversifying interests. What began as basically a bench-rest rifle club has now evolved into one of this region’s premiere facilities for not only midrange rifle, but a growing mix of pistol, rifle, and shotgun sporting and practical disciplines. “Out of many, one,” our national motto says. The same goes here: Out of many shooting interests comes one unified organization.

For those of you I have not met or don’t know well, I look forward to getting the chance to meet you and learn more about your backgrounds, interests, and reasons for continuing as members. After graduating from Rockhurst in 1972, I and two partners started Midwest Marine Contracting to provide commercial diving services across the country, including nuclear diving, potable water/wastewater environments, underwater bridge inspections, and diver training. I spent 36 years training the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ 300-member diving program.  I am also proud to have been involved with Prince of Peace Catholic School in Olathe, the regional advisor council of Catholic Charities, the Olathe Republican Party, and Kansans for Life.

Beginning in early 2000, our family helped with many of the annual Friends of the NRA banquets in Kansas. I became a C&R Gun Collector, an NRA instructor, and then a federal firearms dealer.  After Kansas passed concealed carry in 2004, I became a certified Kansas concealed carry instructor.

My wife, Tana, and I have three sons: Ryan, Camron, and Aaron. Our two oldest are serving in the U.S. military.  All three sons are NRA life members; two are currently Mill Creek members, with our oldest son, Ryan, currently overseas with his family serving as a U.S. Navy Corpsman and on the U.S. Navy Rifle team.  At the age of nine, Ryan had the passion and desire to become a military sniper.  He pursued that dream all his life, which has permeated our family life.  Our younger sons’ interest in shooting sports followed. Our home was known as the “gun house,” where all the neighborhood kids came to play. The boys learned to shoot sling shots and BB guns in Cub Scouts; then Boy Scouts brought on the Rifle, Shotgun and Archery merit badges. 

Our sons have learned to shoot safely and competitively during their younger years here at Mill Creek. Their experience and the role models they encountered here form a good part of my vision for this organization. Two of them participated with the NRA Youth Education Summit as our Kansas representatives, traveling to the NRA facility in Fairfax, Virginia, for a week to meet and compete with like-minded Second Amendment teenagers from all 50 states. Ryan owes part of his success on the U.S. Navy Rifle team to the early support in the form of equipment, time, and talent he received from the Mill Creek high power shooters. Our wonderful friend, father, competitor, Mill Creek board member, distinguished rifleman, and coach, Mike Van Dyke, took four young Eagle Scouts from our membership on three all-paid trips to Camp Perry from sponsorships that included Mill Creek, returning with many high power awards. I will always treasure my time and experiences with Mike, watching our sons grow into young men through guided hard work, practice, and competition. We are lucky to have members like Mike, who we lost much too soon, to look up to as role models.  He is my inspiration to be a role model to our youth myself, and was my main reason for joining the board, to be able to work with and continue to grow and learn through him.

In addition to continuing those opportunities for our youth, my goals for this year break down to three main areas:

  • Structuring the business of your board of directors so I get out of the way and allow the talents of all these volunteers to be used fully in service of you, the members
  • Maintaining our long-standing focus on safety first, including putting an immediate priority on implementing our “Ambassador Safety Program,” using membership volunteers, which has been in planning for the last three years
  • Constant, regular, and meaningful communication with you. That includes not just communicating out to the members, but actively listening to what you want, and responding.

I believe that as good as our physical facilities are here at Mill Creek Rifle Club, our most important asset is our membership. We have the best members. My goal is to maintain the quality of that membership and, with your help and support, to keep Mill Creek the premiere shooting club in this region. Our sons' and daughters’ shooting experience depends on it!  Someday, they will be stepping in to take our place.  We want the best for now and for the future of the club.

My tenure as construction director included numerous improvements to the club, from installing all the new signage, to updating the new electric front gate, from uprading the septic system, to overseeing construction of the new multi-purpose and high power developments. Yet the task I remain most proud of during those years was my very first: Installing a new flagpole and U.S. flag over our facility, to return once again our precious colors to our club. I hope they wave for years after I have come and gone, to remind us—as does the pledge of allegiance we recite before every meeting—that despite our differences in shooting interests, backgrounds, politics, and opinions, we all remain united, one body, indivisible in our guiding vision. Out of many, one.

-- Mike McGovern
Mill Creek Rifle Club President

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"The strongest reason for people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government."
- Thomas Jefferson

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