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MILLERSBURG -- Offering a bit of respite from the stresses of daily life, including those associated with his role as chief of the Prairie Township Volunteer Fire Department, nature is a place in which Reuben Miller seeks solitude.
"I grew up hunting and fishing," said Miller, adding, "If I get stressed out, I just go fishing. Fishing is the best thing to do for it."
Miller, a pan fisher of crappie and bluegill, said he's often accompanied by one or several of his children, Jesse, 21, Josiah, 20, Keith, 17, Kyle, 17 and Sheri, 15, while on the boat at favorite spots, including Pleasant Hill Lake and near Apple Valley.
"The children all love going," said Miller. "I like the challenge of finding the spot the fish are at. There's nothing like the feel of a fish biting on the hook."
But, whether they're biting or not, he said, "I could sit there all day in silence."
And, once the fish are caught, Miller relocates to the kitchen, where he prepares the fish in a light breading and fries them in peanut oil. "I love eating fresh fish. It doesn't last long in our house."
Like the peace he enjoys while fishing, so does Miller appreciate the quiet and contemplative state of watching and listening to the wildlife while hunting.
While his preference is deer hunting with a bow, Miller said he also hunts rabbits and turkey. "There's nothing better than going out and hearing them gobbling," he said, noting the kids also like to hunt with their dad.
Both hunting and fishing, he said, give him a chance to nurture relationships with his children. "As busy as I am, I don't get to spend the time with them I wish I could. It gives me a chance to bond and connect with them."
Although she doesn't join them on their outings, Miller's wife, Dorothy said, "It means a lot to them. It's huge that he takes quality time with the children."
As a person, she said her husband is "very passionate and very outgoing" in his "love for the community, to go out and help other people."
Giving his time to service, she said, is a huge sacrifice for the whole family, but "I know it's his heart, and he has a passion for the community. I support him on that, and I'm proud of him."
Considering Miller's chosen profession, a little de-stressing is a must.
He currently works in lawn care and landscaping, but in March he will transition from part-time to full-time firefighter and paramedic with Holmes Fire District No. 1, in addition to heading the Prairie Township department, although he, at one time, dreamed of becoming a nurse.
"I love doing patient care. I look at all my patients and whatever it takes to get them through what they're going through," said Miller, realizing nurses have more direct contact with patients on a daily basis.
"I would have loved to do that," said Miller, of nursing, noting he attempts always to provide patients with the same compassion with which he sees nurses work.
"I always was interested in firefighting, but once I was a firefighter I saw the need," said Miller, who first became an EMT, and then a paramedic.
"I try to treat every call the same because we don't know what they're going through. The one thing this world has lost is compassion."
He said his work has taught him not only about compassion, but respect and to have fun, realizing that at any moment "you have to be prepared for the worst."
"You never know what's going to happen. You have to give it your all. If your heart's in it, you will be amazed," he said.
John Guegold worked in private ambulance service with Miller from 2012-2013.
"He is probably the most kind person I have met in my entire life," said Guegold, who said he considers Miller one of the most patient and best mentors he has had in his own fire and EMS career.
"He's a great, caring person," said Guegold.
Reporter Christine Pratt can be reached at 330-674-5676 or firstname.lastname@example.org.