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Medford First Citizen award goes to Gary Miller

A veteran telephone executive who found a niche directing fund-raising and social service efforts in retirement has been honored as Medford's First Citizen for 2010.

The Chamber of Medford/Jackson County presented the award to Gary Miller tonight during its 91st Annual Excellence in Business Awards dinner at Rogue Valley Country Club.

“A lot of people have worn the title ‘Mr. Medford’ and he’s got to be in that category as well, going all the way back to his days as a kid at Cubby’s drive-in,” said chamber chief executive Brad Hicks. “He’s had his fingerprints on so many things over the last 40 or 50 years, it’s hard to come up with a short list of things.”

Whether it was as an all-state athlete at Medford High School, the front man for the regional telephone company, beefing up the Rogue Valley Manor Foundation or in his present role of directing ACCESS, the social service agency, Miller brought a spirit of cooperation and accomplishment, Hicks said.

“One of the reasons people love working with Gary is when he signs on to something, it’s genuinely out of concern for the community. There is no personal or hidden agenda, whether it’s providing kids a state-of-the-art place to play baseball or keeping people warm and fed in the winter time, Medford is right next to his heart and it shows.”

Miller was born in Youngstown, Ohio, followed by stops in Tracy, Calif., and Turkey before entering McLoughlin Junior High when his family moved to Medford in the late 1950s.

He played baseball at Oregon State University, earned his bachelor’s degree at Southern Oregon University and picked up a graduate degree in marketing at the University of Oregon.

- Greg Stiles