March 20, 2013

Employee Spotlight: Interview with Mike Farina

The New York Palace is not only rich in history, but also in people. We have a very diverse staff who come from a variety of backgrounds.

Mike Farina, for instance, is a New York Palace gem. After being laid off from a previous job in 1994, Mike received a lead from his Union representative that The New York Palace was hiring an electrical engineer. With only $11.00 in his pocket, Mike was hired on St. Patrick’s Day 19 years ago, and to this day, he is an essential member of The Palace family. But he hasn’t only served The Palace, as a member of the US military, he’s served our country even longer.

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While obtaining his GED, Mike was approached by a recruiter for the National Guard. After enlisting, he was sent to Fort Knox, Kentucky in 1999. After a short time, he came back to New York and served in the Armory Division of Staten Island before transferring to Scouts, which is similar to infantry. Following his service with the Scouts for a year, he was deployed to assist the military and emergency personnel during September 11th.

Stationed at Battery Park with other troops, Mike did search and rescue at Ground Zero. In addition, he spent a week and a half in a walk-in box used as a makeshift morgue.

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In 2002, he joined the Army Reserves. Mike was deployed three times to different cities in Iraq and Afghanistan. Each deployment held a variety of experiences that Mike would remember for the rest of his life. It was those tours that opened his eyes to how people in other countries live, and that led him to cherish what he has in America.

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When touring in different countries, Mike was able to share his electrical trade. In Afghanistan, he trained five Afghan soldiers in basic electricity. During his time there he made friends, shared food with other soldiers, and got to know people better, but his appreciation for his home in America only continued to grow.

After his last tour in 2011, Mike returned to The Palace where he continues to work as an electrical engineer. Mike works with a great team and is excited about the renovations to upgrade The Palace. Having been through five previous renovations, Mike looks forward to this restoration, as he believes renovation means positive change.

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The New York Palace has the utmost respect for Mike Farina and his loyal service to the United States, and to all veterans across the nation.

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