Daily Point of Light # 1966 Aug 16, 2001

Carl and Norma Miller have been involved in making the world a better place in many ways. Mr. Miller founded and grew his own business – Concrete General – and has been using profits from it to provide others with the funding to meet their dreams. Mrs. Miller saw a need to treat terminally ill and severely handicapped children and their families to a day of fun at the local county fair and has worked with a dedicated group of volunteers to make that happen for 30-35 children annually at the Montgomery County Agricultural Fair.

The couple has also founded a child care center at a local community college so that child care is not an issue for those wishing to attend college. Mrs. Miller has also made countless dolls for her church and garden club to sell at their bazaars.

With the VIP Children’s Day Program at the Fair, Mrs. Miller has chaired the volunteer committee that has planned and carried out the program since it was organized 12 years ago. Part of the committee’s mission has been to raise money to underwrite the expenses associated with the program; giant murals have been painted on the side of a warehouse adjacent to the fairgrounds. The original painting of the artwork used on the mural has been sold for $10,000 each year of the nine years there has been a mural. This money plus other donations totals nearly $165,000. The interest from this money covers the expenses of the day.

Each VIP family has a trained youth host (one or two 4-H members) to escort them around the fair. The carnival company provides free rised there and the fair provides free ice cream and sodas. Program expenses cover their food for the day. A local cab company donates transportation home for anyone needing help in this area. It is Mrs. Miller’s hope, once the seed money has grown enough that the interest will entirely cover all VIP Day expenses, to expand the program into a more year-round opportunity for the fair to help these children. Since the program’s inception, more than 330 children and their families have been assisted.

Although Mr. Miller could never afford to go to college in his younger years, 40 years later he decided he wanted students to have the opportunities he never had. Mr. and Mrs. Miller now help four students each year by paying for their full tuition and books. The Millers have given hundreds of thousands of dollars to Frederick Community College (FCC) over the years and were instrumental in the construction – and soon to be expansion – of the Children’s Center. Because of the couple’s generosity, FCC’s Board of Trustees voted to rename the center the “Carl and Norma Miller Children’s Center.”

Besides their work with these two projects, the Millers have bought countless 4-H steers and pigs to underwrite college expenses for many 4-H youth selling their project animals at the fairs. They have also opened their home for many dinner meetings, and Mr. Miller cooks a country breakfast for his workmen once a week at Concrete General.