From Sherwood Park, AB Sgt Miok joined the military at age 17 in 1998, following in his father’s footsteps. He served a tour of duty in Bosnia in 2002 and his first mission in Afghanistan in 2006. In 2009 Sgt Miok departed for his second mission in Afghanistan. His trademark response to why he was heading back into harms’ way was simply- “Somebody needs to save the world.” Sgt. George Miok was killed by an improvised explosive device on December 30th 2009. He was 28 years old.
From an early age, George possessed depth of character. In his high school yearbook, he cited a moment that changed him: looking at the stars one night and knowing that there was more to life. George’s compassion for humanity compelled him to join the military in 1998, a year before he graduated from Archbishop Jordan High School in Sherwood Park. Four years later, while earning a degree from the University of Alberta, he volunteered for a tour of peacekeeping duty in Bosnia. George was grateful for all that Canada had provided to his family, and he wished to give his service in return.
George returned home from Bosnia and completed his degree in secondary education. He loved teaching and made a big impression on his students with his kind and generous nature. He was a natural leader, treating everyone with respect and making them feel special and loved.
George considered becoming a teacher full time after that year-long contract, but positions were scarce, and the second Afghanistan tour was a sure thing. Moreover, Miok had been promoted to Sergeant and the tour that left Edmonton in September afforded him the opportunity to work directly with the Afghan National Army. This would afford him the chance to effect the change he was hoping for.
George was proud of the changes that he saw in Afghanistan. He committed his life to helping people, whether he was in Bosnia or Afghanistan, at school with his students or at home with his family. His strength, gentle heart and joy for life radiated through his infectious, genuine smile.
In civilian life he was a well-loved junior high school teacher. A gifted athlete, he loved playing sports, especially soccer, baseball, hockey, football and rugby; he also enjoyed dancing, movies and comedy. Along with his family, he was very active in the Edmonton area Hungarian-Canadian community. He participated in and practiced traditional Hungarian dance and was very proud of his parents’ heritage. This pride radiated through him when he spoke of how proud he was to be Canadian.
It was this pride that ingratiated him to many of his closest friends. It was also his Canadian pride and his belief in what Canada stands for that made him an amazing friend, brother, teacher, student, and son. This is Sgt. George Miok’s legacy. A reminder, if only once a year, that being patriotic and believing in the greater good for all mankind is not a dream but a goal that we should all walk towards.
Please take the time on Remembrance Day to think about the sacrifices that many brave women and men have made so that we may all enjoy the freedoms that we have. Every dollar raised from the Sgt. George Miok Chocolate collection will be reinvested in the children in the community to ensure that the sacrifice of a great man, who gave his life for the belief of those freedoms, shall never be forgotten.
Credit goes to artist Cindy Revell and the Project Heroes for the portrait and for excerpts of this text.