08/01/2009: "FH Fire Fighters Of The Month"
(John and Vickie Miller at home)
John and Vickie Miller are Town of Friday Harbor Fire Department truck drivers, John on the engines and Vickie the support truck (air and power).
John was too old to join the San Juan Fire District, so the two of them became members of the Town Fire Department, which they joined after meeting Susan and Peter Risser at one of the departments pancake breakfasts.
It is their “giving back” time, which also includes grant writing for the FD, treasurer for the fire association, member of the Thrift House Board, driving for the senior center or teaching photography to the island 4H.
It is said opposites attract, and that is ever so evident for Victoria and john. She was raised on a dairy farm in Whatcom County. On the other hand, John grew up in Brooklyn, New York, where the only “wild life” were squirrels. Many years later, in a galaxy, far, far away (called Bellingham), he met his future wife and settled into the life they were meant to share. They now live on a small ranch outside of town, called “Two Jakes”, (either after grandsons or the movie). Their place is shared with several horses, a cat and 101 swallows.
The Miller’s say “Life is good - enjoying fresh vegetables from Vickie's garden or sharing our favorite spicy foods - Italian and Indian.” They love the quiet (except when paged), and find it difficult to leave. At home, John stays busy with camera “stuff or building their house,” and Vickie with their horses or on her tractor.
When they do leave, they move around Puget Sound on a 30 year old sail boat or make trips in a nearly 50 year old Airstream. One might get the impression from this that they are retired and retro, and that would be correct.
The Millers came to this paradise via an offhand comment. Vickie's sister was moving back to Washington from Alaska and they were living in California. After a phone conversation between the sisters, John asked if she would ever move back to Washington, and “Blink”, the reply was “only if we live on a island.”
So, she said “be careful what you wish for!” They so enjoy the people and environment, except when constantly challenged at an intersection, trying to not be first. Vickie said “Traffic lights would remove this challenge,” adding “Just kidding.”
Favorite saying - “We shall not cease from exploration, And the end of all our exploring, Will be to arrive where we started, And know the place for the first time.
Thank you San Juan, for all you have given us.