Miller has ‘given everything he could’ to St. Mary Villa (Tennessee Register)

Posted 10/10/2014

Photo by Rick Musacchio, Tennessee Register

Even though Mike Miller has stepped down as executive director of St. Mary Villa Child Development Center due to advancing terminal cancer, he remains connected with the Center's staff and board. "He doesn't want to let go," said Susan Ney, president of the Saint Mary Villa Child Development Center Board of Trustees. "He applies a high level of dedication and service to whatever he does."

Miller will be honored with the Spirit of Service Award at this year'sCelebration of Mission to Service for his decades of advocating for children and families, including the last 10 years at the helm of St. Mary Villa. Ney said the St. Mary Villa and Catholic Charities community "is excited about the opportunity to honor him publicly."

Longtime community volunteers Mary Ann and Bill Blaufuss will also be honored with the Spirit of Service Award during the 2014 Celebration of Mission to Service, to be held Wednesday, October 22. The event, benefiting Catholic Charities of Tennessee and Saint Mary Villa Child Development Center, will be at Hillwood Country Club from 5:30-7:30 p.m.

"The Spirit of Service Award is presented to individuals who have been significant contributors to the well-being of clients served by Catholic Charities and the CDC and who reflect our values," said Bill Sinclair, executive director of Catholic Charities of Tennessee.

Ney, who has been on the St. Mary Villa board for the last six years and is a fellow parishioner of Miller's at the Cathedral of the Incarnation, said that he has great "compassion for the mission of St. Mary Villa and he's given it everything he could give."

Whether looking new fundraising angles to help subsidize the sliding scale fees that St. Mary Villa offers, or looking to expand in new markets, as the Villa did for several years at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, or just visiting with the children in the program, Miller has always been keenly interested in serving, Ney said.

"There has been a giant hole in his absence," Ney said, "but the staff has stepped up to fill that, and carry the torch."

Miller, a Cincinnati native, has more than 30 years of experience in social services. He previously served as Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Children's Services, a cabinet level position, and was director of Metro Nashville Social Services Department.

Mike and his wife, Judy, have four children and seven grandchildren, with two more grandchildren due in November.

Miller has also been active in Middle Tennessee's Catholic community. He served on the Father Ryan High School Board of Trust for 12 years. He was a lector at Cathedral of the Incarnation for 15 years and, for many years, helped promote Room in the Inn and Catholic Charities' Christmas Wishes Program there. Miller has also been called on by the diocese on occasion to assist in educating the community on moral/ legal issues regarding health care policy and to help coordinate the Bishop's Annual Appeal.

For information on tickets for this year's Celebration of Mission to Service, go to the Catholic Charities of Tennessee website for the Celebration of Mission to Service at or contact Laura Jumonville at or (615)-760-1014.

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