Dalton’s quiet groundskeeper doesn’t seek recognition, reward

 

PHOTO BY DREW HUGLAND | GAZETTE & NEWS

Chet Miller has been volunteering to do odds and ends throughout the village to keep things tidy and neat for the past 20 years.

 

DALTON  Mayor Judy Cox suspects every village, town or city has a volunteer who works behind the scenes tidying up neighborhoods and downtown and making the community cleaner and safer.

Chet Miller is Dalton’s volunteer.

He doesn’t wear a cape or a mask, but he is a superhero of sorts. For about 20 years, Miller quietly has been going about maintaining shrubs, planting, removing leaves, painting and trimming anything that catches his eye.

A heart attack at the end of August hardly slowed down the retired 72-year-old. He was told he may resume his normal activities in six months. He couldn’t wait. He was back at it after just a couple of months. He makes himself rest more often, but he has jumped back in to helping out neighbors with yard work and tidying up about town.

“He likes to keep the community looking nice, and this is a way for him to stay busy,” Cox said. “He likes to be active, and he likes to keep things looking nice.”

Over the summer, Miller planted flowers at the Dalton sign by the gas stations at U.S. 30 and state route 94. He makes sure motorists passing through and entering and leaving town are left with a good impression of a neat and tidy village.

He planted perennials and shrubs at locations years ago and has continued taking care of them every year. He has mowed in ditches, and painted at the post office and maintained shrubs there.

“I like plants and I used to take care of P. Graham Dunn as a part-time job,” he said.

Before taking care of trees and mowing for P. Graham Dunn, his full-time job was selling feed for 23 years.

Miller also did volunteer work, trimming trees and planting, at Kidron Mennonite Church for several years.

Earlier this month, before the Dalton Holidays Festival parade downtown, he saw the downtown needed to be cleared of leaves and debris. He got out his leaf blower, broom and pickup truck and cleared out downtown so parade participants and onlookers had clean streets and sidewalks.

Do people ever stop him as he’s doing these acts of kindness around town? He said people sometimes recognize him or they figure out who he is and what he’s doing.

“A lot of people see me down at the post office,” he said.

Before he works on property, he usually asks the property owner first and then he gets to work.

“I don’t care if I get paid, I just like things to look nice,” he said.

Cox said Miller has always communicated about work he does in the village and if he has a concern about something he will ask about it.

“He tries to keep things up,” she said. “He does do very well. As far as my administration, as long as I’ve been mayor, I’ve had no issues with him. This is work that he has liked to do. I have really appreciated what he has done in the village.

“I like helping people,” Miller said. “It’s part of me. I always have.”

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