Mighty Mike White main menu

Mike @ Ripley's Believe it or Not, New York, 2007 Mighty Mike world traveler Mighty Mike, Street/Food Dog Advocate Outdoorsman Comedic Teen is hate crime victim

Mighty Mike, June 28, 1993 - May 11, 2008

Born in Clyde North Carolina, Stephen Michael White lived in the Appalachian Mountains of NC. Having grown up near the Great Smokey Mountain Parkway, this young Mountaineer hiked Linville Gorge as often as he fished in Sunburst.

Linville Gorge 2001Funky Mushroom - Linville Gorge 2001On the Edge! Linville Gorge 2001Mike at Linville Gorge 1998

Grandfather Mtn 2003 Mike & momRough Ridge with friends, Mike & mom, 2003Moravian Falls, Mike with friends 1997Mike & Anatoly, 1996 Mother's Day

When he camped in Shenandoah Valley, deer would come to camp. When he found a starling out of it's nest too soon, he nursed her back to health. She had imprinted with Mike, therefore could not be introduced back into the wild right off.

Mike watching deer S.V. VA 2003Road Trips Rule Dude!Mike & StripeyMike & Tweety the Starling 2004
Mom & Tweety 2004Tweet the Starling Mike goes horseback riding 2003

When he left for South Korea in 2004, he took Tweety, a tamed Starling, to the Nature Preserve. He wanted to be sure she would be well cared for.

He attended Boone Montesorri Pre-School and Boone Elementary, before being homeschooled from 2nd grade to 9th grade. At Hoseo University, he was a member of the English Drama Club, and had a bit part in the play, "Sorry, Wrong Number". He attended Chungju University, where he earned a certificate in Korean Language.

Prior to moving to South Korea, he went to Betsy Jeff Penn State 4H camp each summer for weeks at a time. A regular traveler to Washington DC, he attended the Van Gough exhibit at the National Museum of Art, sparking a life long interest in expressive art and becoming an advid fan of Van Gough. He played the guitar eloquently - other than his mother teaching him to read music, he was self taught. He took swimming, tennis, pottery, art, and sculpting lessons at Appalachian State Universities Summer Enrichment Programs. He loved hiking, fishing, skiing, caving, swimming, and his dogs.

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ISBN 978-1-312-99661-8
Sparkling Promises, Book of Mike: American Teen
Coming of Age In South Korea
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World Traveler

Before starting his adventure to South Korea, Mike poured over every book he could find about his new home. Scouring libraries in 3 counties, From Watagua to Ashe, Mike read everything he could find about Korean Culture. Learning that token gifts were given when a new person arrives in a neighborhood (in red bag) Mike went shopping for "American Gifts" he could give his new friends in Korea, complete with small red bags. Mike's girlfriend - if there is such at thing at his age - was Korean-American. Mike was eager to embrace his sweeties culture.

Mike and MJ Kim, Karey's mother 2004

He was perceptive enough from his readings to realize winning approval of Karey's mother would be his key. In the end, she was an albratross's stone instead.

Mike applied that same enthusasim when he prepared to travel to Japan, China and Thailand. Researching the Do's and Don'ts of our exotic destinations was old hat for Mike, who at ten, was already a globe trotter. He would make index cards with common polite phrases, writen phonically, in English & the local language. He had fun making the cards and reading maps, earnst to explore the world.

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Follow Mike as he travels to South Korea for the first time, as he explores temples, trails and parks with his dogs. Read along as Mike discovers insights into the hermit kingdom. Where hermetic knowledge is fostered above science and social underpinnings are fastened into perilously impossible juxtapositions.

Mighty Mike White

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Mike with Neighborhood Girls - his fan club

Mike with a his Daegu Fan Club, 2004 October

Stephen Michael White at Khao Sarn famous BackPacker street in Bangkok Thailand

For Mike's 13th Birthday, we toured Bangkok & Phuket, 2006

Mike at SeaHawks Dome in Fukuoka Japan

Mike at Yahoo's Sea Hawks Dome in Fukuoka Japan 2006

Stephen Michael White with a friend from English Drama Club Hoseo University 2005

Mike with a friend from the English Drama Club, Hoseo University, 2005

Street/Boshentang Dog Advocate


Spot & Mike

Mike's first street rescue, Spot was found one bright morning as we were walking along exploring the neighborhood. A man on a bike was kicking at a dog as he was trying to leave. It was clear the dog belonged to the man & he was dumping it off. Poor thing, she followed him down into the street, we held our breathes as traffic zoomed and the man continued to cycle. Mike leaped into action - he stepped out into traffic - holding up a hand & walking toward the frightend mutt. She cowered under a car, but at least was safely out of traffic's way. Mike cooed to her until she wimpered crawled over to him. I knew when he looked up at me, he had found his longed for puppy. She was about 7 months old. She was a bit undernourished, but with a few vet visits & some great food, she was in tip top shape in no time.


Smudge was named for the coffee colored stain on her ear. One afternoon, Mike & I were driving aroung Chungju, getting a feel for the city. At a busy intersection, we saw a Korean boy (about 8 yrs old) throwing bits of meat from his kabob - out into the street - and stood laughing as the pup darted in & out of traffic in the opposite lane. As our lane inched forward Mike kept watch as the boy's mother continued to ignore her son, chatting winsomely on her handphone. Finally - traffic starts to move a bit on our side and Mike shouted "Stop" - I hit the brakes and pulled over at his insistance. He hopped out of the van and went across the street - intervening and rescuing another puppy from Korean "Vice City, animal version".
Smudge grew to be really big! We found we needed to find a forever home for her - which turned out to be in Busan. After sorting and coordinating a vise run to Fukuoka & puppy delivery, Smudge had a forever home. Mike wanted to rescue dogs from the streets, train them and find forever homes for them. I supported him in his efforts - and gave him challenges, such as earning the money for vet visits.


Another furry success, Chaco Taco was actually supposed to be eaten. Boshentang or Dog Meat Soup is a dark magic delicacy of South Korea. It is believed that if the dog is beaten severely, as it slowly dies, the meat will be rich in adrenline and will confer upon the eater, the vitality from that dog. Which is why a female dog is never eaten by a male Korean. They perfer husky large dogs to drain of vitality. A dog like Chaco-Taco Just a little brown fur ball, Mike stole him from the back of a delivery truck. Mike had cased out the establishment and stole & released dogs whenever he could. He was nearly busted with Chaco-Taco's rescue and he hung up his Doggie Superhero cape after that caper. Chaco-Taco was adopted and relocated to Canada, then possibly Thailand.

Extreme Sportsman

Mike was lucky enough to have camped, hiked, & caved in NC, VA & TN - and loved it.

Mike descriping how stalagmites are formed - Whorley's Cave TN 2000 Mike crawling through Whorley's Cave, TN 2000Mike & Friend on Smoky Mtn Parkway NC

He became fascinated with bats and took them as a totem when he discovered they were lucky in Chinese culture. He had begung studying Chinese and wanted to be able to explore the back country one day. Mike hasn't finished traveling.

Mike & mom - Devils Fork South Carolina 2001 Mike Snorkling in FloridaMike's Thumbs Up

Aside from caving & snorkling, Mike was an advid skier.

Mike "Sonic" of Appalachian Ski Resort 2003 Mike Ice Skating on a Pond, Asan South Korea Mike in Ski Gear

He was on the slopes at 9 years of age and was nicknamed Sonic of Appalachian Ski Resort in 2003. Known for his iconic red hat zooming down the slopes, Mike's skills and sportsmanship were expanding & developing, making him strong and independant.

Hate Crime Victim

Murdered 'cuz he's American

Ignored by Clinton