A local firefighter has been accepted to a top graduate school program and has started an online fundraising campaign to help pay for tuition and other costs.

Mikel Thomas, a firefighter with Clayton County Fire and Emergency Services, is also a three-time Olympian in the 110-meter hurdles (2008, 2012 and 2016) and a national record holder from Trinidad and Tobago. He recently was accepted to Lausanne, Switzerland’s AISTS master of advanced studies in sports administration and technology program, which he said is the No. 1 sports management program in the world and was founded and endorsed by the International Olympic Committee.

Thomas has set up a GoFundMe online campaign to raise $53,150 for tuition, room, board and other fees associated with the program. He said he needs $19,000 by July 10 to make the first payment, and classes start in September.

“Truly a lifetime opportunity as the Olympic Games are coming and with Lausanne being the Olympic capital and home to over 50 international organization(s), this would be the right place and time to sit at the table and contribute to those who have a say in what happens in sport on all around the world,” Thomas said in a message posted to his GoFundMe campaign. “I have been blessed by sports to gain skills and characteristics that are indispensable; hard work, communication, goal setting, teamwork, discipline and so much more that would allow me to be successful in this role and beyond. My heart to serve and passion for sports creates a desire to use my experiences to help elevate others.

“I want to help create programs that empower our youth and community and to share my joy for the sport. I had no desire to go back to school but God kept putting it on my heart. I followed his lead and decided if I'm going to do this, I'm going for the top. I only applied to one Graduate Program, and by his grace, this door is open before me.”

As of June 24, $2,280 had been raised. If he were able to raise the funds needed to participate in the program, Thomas said he would be the first student from Trinidad and Tobago in the program. For more information or to make a donation, visit www.gofundme.com/f/send-mikel-to-the-olympic-capital.


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