Harris County Precinct 2 resident, Mike Mireles, was a rising star in Hollywood with appearances in Selena, The Alamo, and The Gambler V: Playing for Keeps just to name a few and working alongside Chuck Norris for several years, he was well on his way to stardom. Sadly, when Mireles’s father passed away a few years ago, he did what any loving son would do. He left his exciting Hollywood career and returned to Texas to care for his mom, Adelina. Since, he’s kept busy by starting several businesses including a children’s entertainment company, opry karaoke, and a party DJ but felt a greater need to help his mom find happiness again.
“After my dad passed, my mom would just sit at home, walk around, and re-clean everything,” said Mireles.
He often took Adelina out for walks, pushing her wheelchair around at local parks. Over time, he made adjustments for a more enjoyable experience, like creating a PVC pipe contraption that helped put less strain on his lower back when pushing the wheelchair. And of course, his DJ instincts kicked in, so he added speakers to play music for more entertainment.
In addition to their walks, he started taking her to Flukinger Community Center in Channelview to engage with other seniors. He remembers the first time he took her to the Community Center, “It was like the first day of school for her. She was so excited! Now, it’s the first thing my mom wakes up thinking about. She gets up at 7:30 a.m. ready to go!”
Mireles began walking his mother around the Center’s parking lot, and it didn’t take long for the other seniors to want to be part of the action.
“Where did you get that?” and “did you make that?” they would ask intrigued by his contraption. More and more seniors began wanting to catch a ride in the wheelchair. They dubbed the wheelchair “The Power Ride” and Mike “The Push Man.”
(Not what it sounds like… this is a wholesome blog for goodness sake.)
The Push Man was now walking seniors around the Center’s parking lot and playing their favorite music to brighten up their day. He found joy in seeing his mother interact with more people and gratification in getting the seniors out to enjoy nature while listening to their favorite tunes. He was pleasantly surprised to find that as the informal program expanded, his waistline started shrinking. Mireles has dropped more than 70 pounds since he began pushing his mom and other seniors. He does this up to 5 days a week and gets a great upper body workout.
A true entrepreneur at heart, Mireles is constantly looking for ways to elevate the seniors’ walking experience -- by making a better design for the wheelchair contraption. He is currently working with a Patent Attorney for the compact design, finding a way to make the contraption fit any wheelchair and have handles in different positions, as well as working with sound companies to add built-in speakers, plug-in headset capabilities, and even a heart-rate monitor. Mike is excited to take this to the next level and engage more seniors. He is happy to see the difference this is making in his mom’s life, “I’m seeing her come alive!”
To learn more about Mike's story or to see the “Power Ride” in action, please contact Thresa Hester at Martin L. Flukinger Community Center.