Many Butler employees have dedicated themselves to the military for over 20 years. One name that comes to mind is Gregory Cole. Cole, from Baltimore, Maryland, has worked at Butler for eight years. He teaches the BETA and the culinary arts program at Butler. Cole served in the military for 25 years.
Cole spends most of his time teaching or working at his bakery. He owns a nationally known food company called Good Life and a cookie company called Little Bits. He grew up learning how to cook from his grandmother at seven years old. Even with cooking at the forefront of one of his life passions, he was undecided about what to do after high school, so he ended up joining the U.S. Army.
“Coming out of high school I didn’t know what I wanted to do,” Cole said. “[It was] during the Vietnam Era and ended up being longer than I anticipated.”
The U.S. Army trains members on discipline and leadership well after their members leave the military. Cole took what he learned from the U.S. Army and used it towards his next career move.
“It’s a regimen of a society built on discipline,” Cole said. “I ultimately ended up getting a masters in leadership because of what I learned from the military.”
During the military, Cole had a choice to come to either Kansas or Guam while he was still on active duty. He chose Kansas and then attend Butler.
“I wanted to work for a junior college first before I launched into a bigger university,” Cole said.
While in the military, Cole traveled around the world to different countries and other states in the U.S. He has traveled to places like Europe, Asia and Hawaii. He said traveling is his favorite memory from serving in the military.
“Just the traveling aspect of it and learning new cultures, and diversion and inclusion around the world,” Cole said.
Aaron May, from Ohio, served in the military for 26 years. May has worked at Butler for 20 years. He began by teaching BA104 Information Processing Systems at the beginning of his career and then started working part time as the El Dorado test administrator. As of this year, he is the instructional designer. This entails helping faculty with their course development and helping with questions about Canvas. May enjoyed the atmosphere while attending Butler as a student.
“I had such a great time as an adult student and saw how Butler was just like a very large family,” May said. “I wanted to be part of that.”
For May, joining the military was more of a family tradition. He grew up with his father and uncle both serving in the military, with branches like the navy and marines. Cole enlisted in the military young and moved through the ranks.
“I initially enlisted when I was 17 years old into the delayed enlistment system to serve in the Air Force,” May said. “I have had time in Air Reserve, Army National Guard and Air National Guard between all my time from the first day till I retired. I have over 21 years’ active duty and five years in reserves and guard.”
May said his favorite memory from the military is when he got to share a specific, sentimental moment with his father.
“The day my dad came to my Officer Commissioning ceremony,” May said. “He put on his uniform and presented me with my Second Lieutenant bars. He was never prouder to be my father than at that moment when his son out ranks him.”