Windham – This year’s Brick by Brick Celebration Dinner and Fundraiser held at Windham High School helped the Brick by Brick Endowment Fund reach two milestones.  The first one was they have exceeded the $200,000 mark after only 11 years. The second milestone was the need to construct a fourth wall to hold all the engraved bricks that have been sold.

The first milestone is remarkable, but what is more remarkable than the $200,000 in the fund is that they have given away $100,000 in scholarships from the interest on the fund. Last year they gave thirteen $1000 scholarships to graduating seniors to help them further their education.

Every year they hold a celebration dinner at Windham High School honoring a valuable member from the Windham community. This year they recognized Don Miller, a 1956 graduate of Windham High School.  Miller was recognized for his 55 years of service with the volunteer fire department.

The evening started off with folks viewing the new fourth wall of engraved bricks, the display of wood carvings done by Don Miller, and the many awards he received as a fireman and as chief.  This was followed by a delicious dinner served by the Windham Congregational United Church of Christ.  A special presentation was delivered by Brian Miller (No relation) from Ohio State Representative Kathleen Clyde, and Bill Isler Jr. presented a proclamation from Senator Sherrod Brown to Don Miller.  Fire Chief Mike Iwanyckyj along with former Fire Chief Clair Simpson, shared a few kind words.

Don Miller’s son, Jeff Miller, testified about his dad. Jeff said “My dad is more than a dad; he is a friend, an educator, and a mentor.” Jeff went on to say that his dad is considered a father to many of the young men who served on the department —  a man he was proud to call dad.

Don Miller shared many experiences he had as a firemen and a chief.  He told stories from when he first moved to Windham from West Virginia, and how scared he was to attend a “big” school. In West Virginia, he had attended a one room school house and to him, Windham School was a big school. He talked about the primitive equipment they once used and compared it to the modern equipment they now have. He even brought a long a few pieces of the primitive equipment to show everyone. Don told stories from his young EMT days, including the primitive ambulance, the train wreck in Windham and more.

The evening was full of laughter and even a few tears were shed, but, all in all, every one seemed to have a good time.  Prior to everyone departing, they held a 50/50 raffle and they raffled off one of Don’s carved wood ducks. Proceeds from both raffles went to the endowment fund.

There are three ways one can participate in helping the Brick by Brick Scholarship Fund grow.  One is to purchase an engraved brick; individual bricks start at $60. One can also donate cash in any amount or attend their annual dinner.  Nearly half of the cost of the dinner tickets goes to the scholarship endowment fund. Questions about the continuation of the Brick by Brick Fund can be directed to Michael Hill at 330 618-1380.

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Denise Bly has been a correspondent for the Weekly Villager for five years. She also does the public relations for Garrettsville Summerfest and the Garrettsville Area Chamber. In her spare time, she can be found at most local events, especially J.A. Garfield’s, high school and middle school athletic and musical events. When not out and about in the community, she can be found at home reading, sewing, cooking and spending time with her family.