|Miller unwavering in compassion|
|Monday, December 31, 2012 1:47 PM|
“God put us on earth to do good things.” Miller spoke with conviction. “I try to be a positive role model and provide a supportive attitude for all the people I come in contact with, whether it’s children, adults, athletes or the older adult population.”
Miller began volunteering in the early 1980s, after being asked by the Delphos Jaycees to pose as Santa for holiday fundraisers. That first stint as Santa was the catalyst that propelled him into the realm of humanitarianism. No matter the venue, when he plays the part of Old St. Nick, it is a truly magical experience. His wish is that everyone could see the world through Santa’s eyes—the imagery of colorful, blinking lights, children in wonderment, parents and grandparents smiling, laughing and sharing the Christmas spirit — and ultimately, be able to experience that “joy” all year round.
In 1983, while working at Blue Cross in Lima, a co-worker asked him to help announce a football game between Delphos St. John’s and Celina. This “fun job,” as Miller affectionately calls it, spawned a dynamic radio personality, “The Voice of Sports Broadcasting,” that has reached out to many differing communities and organizations.
In the early 1990s, Miller found himself in a quandary — Thomas Edison and Brookhill Center Schools were playing a fundraising basketball game against each other and wanted Miller to do a live broadcast of the game. Miller pulled his resources together and along with the owners of the station, donated the time to broadcast the game from the Van Wert YMCA.
“This was my favorite event of my broadcasting career,” Miller spoke with pride.
Recently, Miller has championed for other causes related to working with developmentally challenged individuals. Since the early 2000s, both Miller and his wife Lynn have been very active with Up to the Challenge and Families United campaigns.
“My wife Lynn has worked for Thomas Edison School close to 34 years,” Miller explained. “I was influenced by my wife’s caring of special needs children and adults.”
Miller is now serving his third 6-year term and 10th year as president of the senior citizens board of directors and has functioned as an integral component in the revitalization of the center. He was instrumental in the planning and completion of the construction of the new garage that houses the center’s vans. Miller has harnessed the resources to give the center a “financial shot in the arm” — funding to keep the senior center up and running. Joyce Hale, Delphos Senior Citizens Center director, describes Miller as a Godsend.
“For the seniors that have vision problems and watch little TV, Rick’s radio coverage — the play by play commentary — makes them feel as if they are right there at the game and enjoying every player’s move,” Hale spoke passionately.
With all of this energy, Miller seems to radiate a natural aura making him a highly visible symbol in the community. It makes sense that when he was diagnosed with ocular melanoma [eye cancer] in 2002, the community took a great interest in his diagnosis, treatment and recovery. Miller feels that if his diagnosis and treatment had not been in the limelight, people unaware of the disease would not have thought to have their vision tested and request the “Rick Miller Eye Test” from Dr. Lois Spangler at Delphos Vision Care.
After hearing about my condition, there were many people who requested that diagnostic test from Dr. Spangler,” Miller explained. “A few of them caught the disease in the early stages and avoided a medical crisis.”
Miller’s repertoire of work with charitable organizations and volunteerism includes: the Arnold C. Dienstberger Foundation, the Delphos Museum of Postal History, the Delphos Institute of Music, Delphos City Council, Delphos Area Chamber of Commerce, Delphos Club and Delphos Rotary Club.
Of all his accomplishments, Miller feels his greatest achievement is co-parenting and raising three children — daughters, Angela and Amy, and his son, Cory, who are responsible, career-oriented, young adults. He also has two granddaughters.
“I am very fortunate,” Miller counts his blessings. “Kids are rock solid in adult life.”
His whole family has been very understanding of the time he devotes to volunteering. At times, when his patience is wearing thin, his wife is very supportive and helps him get through those stressful times.