Student-employee feels he fits in at LCC
LCC student-employee Jeremy Breton (left) stands near the portrait of Malcolm X with LCC adviser Matt Lemon in the Gannon Building. Photo by Mallory Stiles
By Mallory Stiles
Being face to face with a tiger is some people’s worst nightmare, but for Jeremy Breton it is his favorite place to be.
“Tigers are my favorite animal,” Breton said. “They are soft and very playful, despite what people think.”
Breton, 41, is from Jackson, but is currently living in Lansing studying to be a veterinarian. He is taking two courses, Intro to Psychology and Fast Track Algebra.
“At first, I wanted to be a meteorologist or a storm chaser, then a physical therapist, but I settled on being a veterinarian after working at Potter Park Zoo,” he said. “My co-worker asked me what I was passionate about and I didn’t know. No one had ever asked me that before. One day, he saw me petting a tiger and suggested that maybe my passion was animals.”
Even though his path seems crystal clear at the moment, it hasn’t always been that way.
“It’s been a long road to get here,” Breton said. “When I moved here I was homeless with two dollars in my pocket. I’ve overdosed on heroin six times, but I just celebrated 10 years clean.”
Breton said he spends most of his days working out. He likes to lift weights, and bikes absolutely everywhere he can while listening mostly to Lindsey Stirling, an American violinist.
“School, work and working out help keep my mind occupied,” Breton said. “It can be a dark place at times, but it is all about what you choose to feed, whether you destroy or create.”
Breton is also an LCC employee who works scheduling appointments for advisers at LCC’s Center for Academic and Career Pathways.
“I feel like LCC is the only place I have ever fit in,” Breton said. “I love how much support they offer and the people here don’t judge.”
Matt Lemon is an adviser at LCC who had only kind words to share about Breton.
“Jeremy is a very positive, friendly and outgoing guy who will ask questions to make sure students get what they need,” Lemon said. “He is a perfect example of a returning adult student.”
Breton’s cheerful attitude remains unchanged, even after a recent accident.
“I have post-concussion syndrome, so I just get dizzy spells a lot and that is challenging,” Breton explained. “It was July 13, 2018. I worked a 9-to-5 at Potter Park Zoo. I wasn’t feeling well so they pulled me into the office and gave me fluids. They offered to drive me home, but I opted to ride my bike.
“I went down a trail and something told me to climb a tree. I looked directly into the sun and stepped off of a branch, falling 30 feet.”
Breton is OK now, and continues his recovery by taking everything one day at a time.
“I just don’t know how to quit,” Breton said with a smile. “I know that there is something I have to do and I have just always had a feeling I need to keep going.”