In memoriam George Miok
Sergeant George Miok, a 28 year old reservist in the Canadian forces, died in Afghanistan on December 28th 2009 when the armoured vehicle he was in was blown up by a roadside bomb. Three other Canadian soldiers and a journalist from the Calgary Herald died with him. This was Sgt Miok’s second tour of duty in Afghanistan and all obituaries about him mention his strong belief in the value of what he was doing for his country and for world peace. Also mentioned is his love of teaching and the high regard in which he was held by students at St Cecilia Junior High in Edmonton where he taught last year. The Edmonton Journal published a letter George wrote to St Cecilia Junior High for Remembrance Day this past November: George's Letter.
Sgt Miok was born in Canada to Hungarian parents and he participated in many events of the Hungarian community in Edmonton, including a Hungarian dance group. Susanna Biro, long-time arts and cultural organizer and Artistic Director of the Csardas Hungarian Dance Ensemble of Edmonton, of which George Miok was a member, was saddened by this sudden loss and says the Hungarian community of Edmonton was devastated by the news of George’s death . Susanna is a regional correspondent on the editorial board of this website and has sent us the following message:
Susanna Biro’s message
“Sgt. George Miók, youngest son of Anna and Illés Miók of Sherwood Park, Alberta, is remembered with love by the Hungarian community in Edmonton. The whole family is active in our community, volunteering for numerous Hungarian organizations here, and participating in the events at the Canadian Hungarian Cultural Society, the hunters’ club, and our churches. George/Gyuri was a member of the Csárdás Hungarian Dance Ensemble from childhood to his early twenties; I taught him at the dance group for all of these years, and I will always remember his love of life, his abiding interest in Hungarian folk culture, his kindness and generosity, and his enormous heart. Nyugodj békében, Gyuri.”
She has also forwarded to us the family’s statement to the media about George:
Statement by the Miok family
George was the youngest of four brothers raised in a loving home by Anna and Illés (Eli). Before George had even graduated from Archbishop Jordan High School in Sherwood Park, he was already looking ahead. In high school, he had a part-time job at a local restaurant but he felt that it wasn’t for him. He saw an Army advertisement and he decided to join the Engineers in 1998 because his father served his country when he was in the military.
An excerpt from his Grade 12 Scrapbook titled ‘The Event That Has Changed My Life’ – This last summer, the summer of ’98, I did Basic Military Training at the Wainwright Training Base. The experience was long but it made me look at things differently. I went through many tough times, long nights, and early mornings. I got through the days with the help of friends and my own inner strength. Once, when I was in the field late at night, I looked at the sky and saw stars like I’ve never seen before and I knew that there was more to life. The whole experience made me appreciate my life more and made me think about everything I was fortunate for.
George, then 17, was happy to spend his Saturday’s and Wednesday evenings with his new friends at the Debney Armoury. He enjoyed the weekend field adventures, comradeship, and opportunity to travel; he also appreciated having money to buy gas for the car and hang out with his friends. After high school, George entered the University of Alberta where he earned a degree in Education and became a junior high school teacher in Edmonton.
A gifted athlete, George loved playing sports – especially soccer, baseball, hockey, football, and rugby. He was also a natural on the dance floor, and had many admirers when he danced the two-step with a lucky partner. Perhaps he learned those skills as a long-time member of the Csárdás Hungarian Folk Dance Ensemble in Edmonton.
With his family and friends, George loved watching movies and liked to laugh at funny TV shows. He loved to socialize, and was known to go for a long run after a night of merriment – just another example of his strength.
His appreciation of humanity is what compelled him to serve with the Canadian Forces in Bosnia in 2002, and again in Afghanistan in 2006. Before he left on his first overseas deployment to Bosnia, he tried to explain his decision to his mother in the following way – Canada has been good to us and I want to pay it back. He then read a passage from the Bible (The Beatitudes) that contains the following phrase: . . . Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
George was so proud of the good changes that he saw in Afghanistan. He firmly believed in the importance of helping people, and was determined to do more.
“I’m just off to save the world – somebody has to,” is how he described his efforts.
George will be loved and remembered forever by his many friends, his large extended family (aunts, uncles, and so many cousins) and his dad Illés (Eli), his mom Anna, his three older brothers Michael, John, László (Les) and his sister-in-law Melissa. The family appreciates the efforts of the news media and wishes that everyone respect their privacy during this difficult time..
George Miok has made the supreme sacrifice for his country; we salute him and offer our condolences to his family, friends, his fellow soldiers and his students. There are various web pages in his memory and a number of obituaries and articles in the media including one from the University of Alberta and from the Edmonton Journal.