Chesterton Tribune

 
 

Town Council, citizens honor Miller's service to Porter parks and children

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By PAULENE POPARAD

Stephanie Miller was slicing and serving chocolate cake Tuesday night to dozens of people at the Porter town hall who had come to wish her well.

The Town Council honored her upon Miller’s retirement from the Porter Park Department.

Councilman Rob Pomeroy, the outgoing park liaison, thanked Miller for her service and recalled how she, her husband Jim Miller --- former park superintendent and now park maintenance specialist --- and Pomeroy all helped his Porter Cove neighbors build Kids Cove Park in 1996. “The park turned out wonderfully.”

Pomeroy said through the years Stephanie Miller hosted numerous park events including children’s favorites like the annual Halloween Boo Bash and Easter Egg hunt. “I can’t imagine how many smiles you brought to the kids of Porter over 20 years. I bet it’s thousands,” he added, followed by audience applause.

Miller was gifted with a wooden plaque bearing a color photo of the Hawthorne Park Millennium Gazebo and an inscription from the Town of Porter and its citizens. Said Miller, “Thank you so much. It’s been my pleasure.”

She later said, “I was overwhelmed. I teared up, such kind words from the council members. I appreciate it more than they know.”

Council member Jeannine Virtue said her own children, now grown, once were involved in Miller’s park programs and it’s an asset for any community to have someone for 20 years who parents can trust with their kids.

Miller told the Chesterton Tribune, “When a child comes to the park, they basically want to let their hair down, enjoy the scenery, run, play and have fun. That hasn’t changed in 20 years. I still delight in children enjoying themselves as I did when I started.”

While today’s child might have a smart phone, MP3 player or hand-held computer game in their pocket, “Those items are tucked away when they come to play volleyball, disc golf, baseball or basketball,” Miller explained.

She noted that although she retired from the Park Department, she’s open to exploring other employment options.

The Park Department is in its first weeks of a reorganization. Two new Park Board members were named Tuesday, and Park Board president Rondi Wightman told the council 34 persons have applied for the new position of park director. Interviews with the finalists are ongoing; the board hopes to select a director at its Jan. 15 meeting.

Wightman also said park facilities are still available for rental and inquiries are welcome. Stephanie Miller formerly handled rentals/reservations.

 

 

Posted 1/9/2013