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Carroll County Times

Manchester administrator inducted into Hall of Fame

Just about everyone knew Steve Miller, 54, was nominated as a candidate for the Carroll County Volunteer Emergency Services Association's Hall of Fame. One person who didn't know: Miller.

Miller, town administrator for Manchester, was nominated by his coworkers at the Manchester Volunteer fire company and selected by a committee formed by the association. However, during a county convention in May, when the award was to be handed out, Miller was unable to attend. In a stunning display of tight-lipped acumen and self-control, those in attendance who knew Miller kept it a secret from him for more than a month.

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On the opening day of the Manchester Fireman's Carnival June 30, Miller was inducted into the association's Hall of Fame.

"That was a surprise, I didn't even know they had nominated me," Miller said. "It was the best kept secret at the fire hall."

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The night of the carnival, Miller said he was a little surprised when he arrived and his entire family was there, including his wife, Laurie, who works at Manchester Town Hall with him, his son, Greg, 26, and his daughter, Christi, 22.

"It was strange but it wasn't abnormal enough for me to start wondering," he said.

It wasn't until he was called up to the stage and saw the vice president of the association waiting for him that he began to get suspicious. The award was presented by his long-time friend, Donald Nott, himself a recent inductee who currently serves as director of public works for Manchester.

Neal Roop, administrative assistant for the association, said the award is the highest honor they bestow and whoever is inducted has given selflessly to the community for a lifetime.

"[Miller] does an excellent job for the Manchester Volunteer fire company and the town of Manchester and the award is well-deserved," Roop said.

When asked why he initially decided to volunteer for the town, Miller said he wanted to give something back to the community that he loves so much.

"I joined the Manchester junior fire department when I was 13 years old," he said. "I wanted to serve the people."

Miller, who began his volunteer service career in 1975, was nominated by the Manchester Volunteer fire company for 40 years of service, starting as a volunteer, then working his way up to a HAZMAT and emergency team member. He later served as first, second and third assistant fire chief before becoming the fire chief of the company. He served in that capacity for eight years on and off before being nominated as president for three years. He now serves as a member of the board of directors and town administrator.

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Every volunteer service in the county may submit the names and files of any member who they believe is worthy of this honor at the beginning of each year until March 1. Regardless of how many names are submitted, only three people are selected. Ralph Dull, who served as chairman of the company's committee this year, said Miller's name has been submitted every year for a decade, which illustrates just how difficult the final selection process is. Tim Warehime, a past member of the association's committee that makes the final selection, said the three who are selected each year are meticulously whittled down from usually 15-20 total applicants, and all of them have impressive resumes.

"Generally, what a person has done for county, state and the local area are all just as important as the next," Warehime said.

For Miller, the acknowledgement isn't nearly as important as the people and community he has served. Still, he said, It feels good.

"It's just an honor that I've been selected by a group of my peers, and a pleasure," Miller said.

Reach staff writer Wiley Hayes at 410-857-3315 or email him at wiley.hayes@theadvocateofcc.com.


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