Carl Miller might be the quietest volunteer in the building but everyone who works at Metropolitan Ministries knows when he’s there.
“He’s the first person I see coming in the door,” said Jennifer Fake, the Metro Ministries Donor Services coordinator. “I actually started off as a volunteer. I found it as a great place to be. It’s wonderful.”
Metropolitan Ministries’ mission is to “care for the homeless and those at risk of becoming homeless in our community through services that alleviate suffering, promote dignity and instill self-sufficiency … as an expression of the ongoing ministry of Jesus Christ.”
It’s a nonprofit working throughout the Tampa Bay area with the help of 23,000 volunteers. One of the special ones is Miller.
“He’s our favorite volunteer,” said Hope Marshall, who is in charge of donor services. “He comes every Tuesday faithfully. My first Tuesday here I knew that he was a special guy. I know he believes in the mission here. That’s what brings him back.”
For Miller, showing up at Metro each week is meaningful.
“I was raised in an orphanage,” the 91-year old said. “The one over on Florida Avenue. The building is still there but it’s not an orphanage anymore.”
Miller grew up in the Children’s Home for 17 years after his parents abandoned him there.
“A lot of people saved me from a bad life and I’ve had a wonderful life.”
The crossroads in his life came when he was a teenager. He didn’t know where to take his future.
Miller was able to travel to all 50 states, earn a master’s degree and serve in the Navy.
Now, he gives back to Metro, since it’s similar to where he grew up.
“Exactly. It felt like it was payback time because there were so many people who helped me.”
Miller was honored with a Tampa Bay Lightning Community Hero award. The team gave him $50,000 to donate to the charity of his choice.
On March 25, Metropolitan Ministries will give him the Lifetime Achievement award.
(© 2017 WTSP)