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Senior Lifestyles

Fairlawn man enjoys lifetime in Scouting

5/3/2012 - West Side Leader
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By Kathleen Folkerth

Bill Miller has been involved with the Boy Scouts of America since he was 12 years old. He’s worked with Troop No. 380 for 48 years, he said.
Photo courtesy of Allen Hoy
Members of Boy Scout Troop No. 380 are shown during a high-adventure trip to Glacier National Park in Montana last July. According to Scoutmaster emeritus Bill Miller, the Scouts stay interested because of the many high-adventure trips and activities they get to participate in. This summer, the troop will travel to the Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico. Shown above, from left, during a hike are Andy Lostoski, Will Kalal, Joe Lombardi and Dustin Frlich.
Photo courtesy of Boy Scout Troop No. 380
FAIRLAWN — Bill Miller is 89 years old and still a Boy Scout at heart.

Miller, a Fairlawn resident for 50 years, joined a Boy Scouts of America troop when he was 12 years old. Today, he serves as Scoutmaster emeritus with Scouts working toward the rank of Eagle in Troop No. 380, based at Montrose Zion United Methodist Church in Bath.

“Scouting is a great organization,” Miller said. “A lot of people don’t realize how extensive the skill learning and leadership training is in Scouting.”

Miller said he’s worked with thousands of Scouts over the years as a Scoutmaster and mentor.

“I have a lot of sons,” he said. “I’m very privileged.”

Growing up in Firestone Park, Miller joined the Scouting movement and remembers selling pansies to earn money for summer camp. He enjoyed the activities and went on to become an Eagle Scout.

His efforts paid off. He said when he went to B.F. Goodrich to apply for a job as a messenger after he graduated from Garfield High School, he was one of four young men chosen out of about 300 applicants. When Miller asked the personnel director what made him choose him, he said it was his Eagle Scout rank.

“The personnel director had been active in Scouting,” Miller said.

During World War II, Miller enlisted and served starting in 1942. He was present at the invasion of Normandy and also at the Battle of the Bulge, he said. He stayed on active duty and then as part of the reserves after the war.

He also attended college, earning a bachelor’s degree at The University of Akron and a law degree at Case Western Reserve University, and today still works in the field of financial planning. He and his late wife, Alice, a children’s librarian, had three children.

Their sons, Tim and Tom, both became active in Scouting, Miller said, and he served as a Scoutmaster for 30 years.

He’s been involved with Troop No. 380 for 48 years, he added, and has worked with 157 boys who became Eagle Scouts.

“We are a service-oriented troop,” he said. “Over the years we have done 100 or more service projects for communities, churches and schools.”

He said the troop, which today has about 70 members and 30 fathers involved, remains one of the most active in the area.

“It’s known as a boy-led group,” he said. “There’s a Scoutmaster and a troop committee, but the boys themselves run the organization.”

The troop keeps its members interested because of the many high-adventure trips and activities they get to participate in, he said. Members have traveled to such places as the Bahamas, the Dry Tortugas, the Rocky Mountains and the Appalachian Trail. This summer, the troop will travel to the Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico, Miller said.

In his role, Miller attends the troop’s meetings every Monday night, he said.

Miller said he keeps in touch with many of the Scouts he’s worked with over the years. He organizes a luncheon every year that often brings about 60 or more of them back.

“They come from all over the world,” he said.

The leadership of Troop No. 380 said Miller is an asset to the group.

“What I can tell you about Mr. Miller is that he is a true American hero in every sense of the word,” said Scoutmaster Tim Lombardi. “He saw combat action at Normandy and the Battle of the Bulge, while earning a Silver Star and a couple of Bronze [medals] in his idle time. He’s a Scouting living legend and the most charismatic rascal you’ll ever meet. If there is a template for a man on how to live his life with grace, dignity and courage, it is Bill Miller.”

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