We’ve written a few times about Commissioner Tom Mielke’s fondness of cars, but we recently discovered another of Mielke’s treasures.

Last week, he spoke about his love for his grandkids – all 22 of ‘em.

Grandpa Mielke attended an event last week celebrating a five-year, $600,000 grant for youth substance abuse prevention efforts.

At the event, seven teens shared their perspectives about youth using and abusing drugs and alcohol. A few of the teens shared details about their own troubled pasts.

There was the high school senior who is sober after using drugs for four years. There was another senior who is navigating the Clark County juvenile recovery court after running into trouble with the law. And there was the sophomore who is finding himself again, now that he’s clean.

After answering a few questions from the moderator, audience members had a chance to ask the teens questions.

Commissioner Mielke took the opportunity to tell the teens that his own son had made poor decisions that landed him in prison for more than a year.

His son, Mielke said, always assumed his “homies” would take care of him. But when it came to prison time, it was family that stood by his side, Mielke said.

The teens, Mielke said, should always remember how proud their parents are of them and how much they’re loved.

“Your family loves you like you wouldn’t believe,” Mielke told the teens. “I’m the grandfather of 22, and I love them all the same.”

Marissa Harshman

Marissa Harshman

I'm the health reporter for The Columbian newspaper in Vancouver, Wash. I started at The Columbian -- my hometown newspaper -- in September 2009. Reach me at marissa.harshman@columbian.com or 360-735-4546.

Scroll to top