Mike Vogel: Regular Guy


Editor's note: This is the last profile in a series meant to introduce readers to the newly elected council members. Since the election, profiles have been published of Mayor Bob Edwards and councilors Su Connell and Ed Blair.

Councilor Mike Vogel removed his tie on camera during his first council meeting Wednesday, May 24.


Mike Vogel

"I'm just Mike," he said. "If you make a mistake, just stand up and admit it, and will I make mistakes? You betcha."

Vogel grew up on an 80-acre farm outside Ann Arbor, Mich. where his family raised hogs.

"They were born and raised strictly for butchering," Vogel said. "You fatten them up with different grains."

Meat markets and grocery stores purchased and butchered the portly porcines for customers.

Vogel loved his youth on the farm. He roamed the woods next to his home, nurturing a lifelong appreciation of nature.

"I could do what I wanted," Vogel said. "I spent most of my time by myself. I hated to be cooped up."

So, he and his uncle hunted.

At first Vogel sought quail and deer. In the wintertime, he trapped mink and muskrat and sold the pelts to manufacturers.

The ever-brawny teenager took his first job on the farm and drove himself to school at 14.

"I always worked," he said.

And when most young adults were deciding their college major, Vogel married at 18 and built his first house at 19.

Following the footsteps of his father and his grandfather William, who signed the original charter for the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners, Vogel picked up a hammer and joined the union.

"At 19, I got involved with the carpenter's union," he said. "And by 21, I was elected union president. At the time, I was the youngest president."

In the years to come, he served as mayor of the Unadilla Township, about 62 miles west of Detroit.

"The group that had been in office had been there for 18 years," he said. "And they stopped listening, so we had to change some things."

After a stint in local politics and 13 years of swinging a hammer, Vogel changed careers.

During a job building a fire station in Ann Arbor, Vogel, the project's superintendent, befriended Fire Chief Fritz.

Fritz thought Vogel should try his hand at firefighting.

"I took the test and thought I'd try it for six months," Vogel said. "I stayed for 22 years.

I liked firefighting because you could find your limits."

On his days off, Vogel carried on as a carpenter. A friend of a friend needed a house inspection.

That's where he met his second wife, Stephanie, a police officer.

"We just hit it off," he said. "I liked her personality. She was strong."

After more than 20 years, during which time he delivered two babies during emergencies, Vogel knew it was time to quit.

"I got tired of watching people check out," he said.

Six years ago, the Vogels retired and moved out west.

"Some friends in the Valley kept talking to us (about this area)," Vogel said. "We ended up in Payson.

"I like the trees. I like hunting. I like to be outside."

And so, Vogel, a 25-year bow-hunting veteran, takes to the Rim Country in search of elk when he can get tags.

But most of the time, Vogel pursues black bears, his passion.

He also takes long road trips on his BMW motorcycle and participates in a charity ride from Mexico to Canada.

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