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Blessings are to be shared

Blessings are to be shared

This story begins with a hammer—a hammer put in the hands of John Miller by the Marianist Brothers back in 1963. John's family had just relocated to California in the summer before his junior year. "I was 15 , and I didn't know anyone. What could have been devastating turned out to be fabulous," he said.

A week after they arrived in California, he visited Chaminade, where the brothers were hard at work building an addition to their home. All summer long he joined them in pounding nails. Not only did the extension grow, but so did his feeling of being part of the Chaminade family. When school started that fall he still didn't know any other kids, but he quickly made some lifelong friends.

"It was truly a wonderful experience," he reflected on his two years at Chaminade.

After graduation, John attended Seattle University. "The whole package of a Catholic education is important for people growing up. It gives them something they can always fall back on when they have meaningful decisions to make."

While in college, he majored in business and participated in ROTC. Following graduation, he entered the U.S. Army as a second lieutenant. He volunteered for Vietnam, arriving there in December 1970. Twelve months later, he was assigned to a missile unit in Chatsworth, then Korea, Fort Bliss (Texas), and Fort Ord and the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey. There John met his future wife Gail, a Naval Officer, at the Navy flying club where he taught her to fly.

After they married, they found that juggling two military careers took some planning and flexibility, arranging for assignments together in Germany and Washington, D.C. After 20 years, John retired from the Army and began his second career. He flew for TWA and retired from American Airlines years after their merger. The couple moved to Williamsburg, Virginia, in 2008.

Nowadays, they maintain an active volunteer life as Eucharistic ministers. They serve in the church's funeral ministry, where they assist families at a difficult time. John also volunteers as a tax aide at their local library.

Both treasure the feeling of having an impact, of helping people. They credit their families and their education for developing that important moral compass.

"After you are out in the world in your late 20s," John said, "you realize what a benefit it was to go to Chaminade as you fall back on that moral compass."

"We have been so blessed, so fortunate, we felt we needed to share," he explained. So the couple sought out causes that can make an impact on others after they are gone.

They selected Chaminade as one organization that can make a difference and included the school in their will.