EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the third of a series of stories on veterans who also are business owners in the area. A subsequent story will publish July 2 with a special section on July 3 highlighting other veterans in our community.
BULLHEAD CITY — Michael Myers helps people. Whether you need tax help, an accountant to help get your finances right, payroll help, or you are trying to get out of Vietnam during the fall of Saigon, Myers is there to help.
Myers, the owner of Harrington Financial Services, was a military brat. His father was career Air Force (master chief), and Michael spent much of his childhood traveling around the world.
“I’ve lived on the East Coast, West Coast and Europe,” said Myers. “We lived in Germany for three years. I went to at least six elementary schools.”
Myers eventually made his way to Sunnymead, California, where he graduated high school in 1973. After taking a year off, he headed into the Marine Corps.
“I knew I wanted to go to college, but I also knew I wasn’t mature enough to go to college at that time,” said Myers. “I was going while all my friends were working and partying at the local university. I just wasn’t ready.”
Myers did his basic training at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego, then was off to Camp Pendleton for truck driver training.
“I was there about six weeks and they put me on an airplane,” said Myers. “I got out of boot camp in September and flew to Okinawa the third of January in 1975. It was very quick. We knew something was going on and they were looking for bodies to go overseas for the evacuation. That’s when they evacuated the embassy.”
Myers was technically stationed at Okinawa, Japan, but his tour would include the massive airlift called Operation Frequent Wind.
“I served on two different ships,” said Myers. “I was on the USS Bristol County and the USS Barbour County. We picked people up from Vietnam and took them to the Philippines.”
The USS Bristol County and the USS Barbour County were both flat bottomed Newport Class tank landing ships — basically, amphibious assault ships. They replaced the traditional bow door design landing ships. Their design made them perfect for the evacuation as they could handle the barrage of loaded helicopters landing on their decks. The evacuation ultimately resulted in 7,000 Americans and “at-risk” Vietnamese being saved.
When Myers wasn’t on the ship, he was working at headquarters in Okinawa.
“I spent a little over 13 months in Okinawa and on ship for the evacuation,” said Myers. “I did a bunch of different PAC (Pacific Area Cruises) cruises. We cruised around Okinawa, Japan, Hong Kong, Guam, the Philippines. We went everywhere in that area.”
Although technically his job was a truck driver, he drove very little. At Okinawa and attached to the headquarters, he worked mainly on military intelligence. Sometimes he got to drive, as he transferred intelligence around the island.
“Then I went back on ship basically as a truck driver/grunt,” said Myers. “Most of the time we would just cruise around the Pacific checking for hot spots. When they needed me on the ship, I was on the ship. When they didn’t, I was back in Okinawa.”
In 1976, Myers had finished his overseas tour and came back to Camp Pendleton. Because of his top-secret clearance, he was moved into intelligence administration.
“They put me in the office, because they figured I could type,” said Myers. “So, I spent the last two years in admin.”
He got out in 1978 and went to West Virginia where his parents — originally from West Virginia — had moved back to. He attended college there and finished up his business and accounting degree, using the GI Bill. He also met his future wife, Debbie, there.
The plan, according to Myers, was to finish his degree and then return to the military.
“To become a helicopter pilot,” said Myers. “I was in the air wing and attached to a Cobra Squadron (HMA 169) when I got back to Camp Pendleton. I was fascinated with it. But I got married in college and got a beautiful stepdaughter, so I just never went back in the military. Decided to start my career in accounting and business.”
Myers’ now father-in-law had been in the Army during the Korean War and his departure had left a bitter taste in his mouth. He was able to talk Debbie into convincing Michael to get out of the military.
From there, Myers hopped around the East Coast and South before making his way to Bullhead City.
“I worked in a number of industries,” said Myers. “Whenever work would slow down, I would move on. I worked in the coal industry in Pennsylvania and when it shut down, I went to Florida for a chemical company because I had a background in science. Then left there and went to Georgia for a heavy manufacturing plant.”
When Debbie’s father got sick, the family — including stepdaughter Jennifer Chidester — returned to West Virginia to care for him. Myers got certified by HUD as an assisted housing manager and worked low-income Section 8 housing as an accountant.
He retired in 2011 and some friends in town convinced him to come out to Bullhead City.
“I got bored and went back and got my enrolled agents license,” said Myers. “I’ve been doing taxes since I was in high school. I made side money by doing taxes for my fellow Marines. Over the years, I’ve always had friends who have small businesses and needed tax help. I just did whatever I needed to do to help people.”
In 2016, Myers purchased the Harrington Tax and Financial Services office and went back to work. He has expanded the tax business and now also offers full-service accounting and payroll help. He also is expanding more into the IRS audit representation.
Myers has stayed connected to the military and is very involved with the Jerry Ambrose Veterans Council.
“I found out about them through the Marine Corps League in Kingman,” said Myers. “Pat Farrell’s wife, Casey, is an honorary member of the Marine Corps League. She’s from a little town about 40 miles from where my wife is from and Pat’s about 40 miles another way. They had a veteran who had a tax problem, so I volunteered my services to help.”
That’s how it started, but today Myers has made his way onto the team, then was elected vice-president and now is executive vice president. His qualifications as an accountant, as well as his certifications, is a great benefit to the organization as well as those the organization serves.
“With my degree, background and certifications, the people handing out the grants, want to make sure that who’s handling the money is someone qualified to handle the money,” said Myers. “It just looks good that there is someone like me handling the money and supervising the treasurer.”
Myers is basically running the Bullhead City branch of the JAVC since everyone else is up in Kingman. That was evident recently when he was called to help a stranded veteran.
“We had a veteran here at Telephone Cove who had his car break down,” Myers said. “He had a hose burst and he was stranded. They called me and we went out and got him taken care of.”
That service to his community and to his fellow veterans goes all the way back to his military days and what he learned there.
“I like giving back to the veterans,” said Myers. “I come from a family of veterans. My dad was a veteran, my father in law, my brother, my daughter. I have a lot of cousins that were veterans. My uncles were veterans in World War II. We have a history of serving.”
Myers has been with Debbie for 31 years and that young stepdaughter has gone on to serve in the military as well, having been in the Air Force. Jennifer now works in the office with him. That has allowed Michael and Debbie the opportunity to see their 5-year-old granddaughter, Emma Jane, more often.