Veteran Faces of CNM: Lieutenant Michael Kear

Michael is a veteran who has a strong commitment to serving students as the head of security for the Westside and Rio Rancho campuses.
November 10, 2021

Michael Kear is Lieutenant with the CNM Security department and oversees the Westside and Rio Rancho campuses. But he’s not one for titles. He prefers to be called Michael and says he sees his job as more than just keeping people safe.

“Our mission here at CNM is to take a sincere interest in our students’ educational goals and dreams,” he says. “It is our responsibility to offer them encouragement, praise them for what they are accomplishing, and let them know that you support them.”

Michael’s service career started when he enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1974. In April 1975 he was sent to Vietnam to assist with Operation Frequent Wind, or the emergency evacuation of Saigon. He then was stationed in Germany and South Korea and left the Army when he reached his Expiration Term in Service in 1981. 

Back home in Springer, New Mexico, Michael enlisted with the New Mexico Army National Guard’s 720th Battalion. He was deployed to Operation Desert Storm in Kuwait and went on to spend nine years with that unit for a total of 16 years of military service. 

Next, he worked as Deputy Division Director of the Children, Youth, and Families Department Juvenile Services. After retiring from the State he decided to work at CNM as a way to continue serving his community. 

“The military taught me commitment, discipline, readiness, and attitude, all of which have helped me in my CNM career,” he says. 

At CNM, Michael says he sees his job as general support, especially for students. As an example, he once saw a student carrying her textbooks in an old plastic bag and the very next day showed up with a new backpack for her.

“I hate to see kids who don’t have what they need,” he says.  

Anthropology instructor Susan Ruth took notice of Michael’s broad commitment to CNM and nominated him for a Values Champion award back in 2020.

"Michael has taught me we can choose courage in the face of the unknown,” Susan wrote

CNM has also helped Michael in many ways. When his son passed there was an outpouring of support.

“The understanding and love my family and I received from the Security department and other members of our CNM family is something I will never forget,” he says. 

Michael is glad that students are back on CNM campuses but says he’s noticed a difference. He thinks many are quieter and more reserved. 

“My heart goes out to the kids,” he says. “The pandemic has taken a toll on students.” 

To try and help, he’s encouraged his Security officers on the Westside and Rio Rancho campuses to engage with students whenever possible so they know that the Security department has their back. 

“It only takes a caring heart to help them meet their needs, and when you do you’ll be rewarded with gratitude and a beautiful smile,” he says. 

Going forward, Michael says all he knows is that he wants to continue to serve.  

“Service is what we’re supposed to do because we’ll be soldiers for the rest of our lives,” he says.