Everyday hero: Steve Miller
Thirteen years ago, Steve Miller moved to Hastings with his wife for a job at Dakota County. There, he worked as a juvenile probation officer.
Helping youths, he said, is something that has been important to him and that's something he is still doing. These days, though, you won't find him at the courthouse. Rather, you'll find him directing traffic every morning and every afternoon at both Pinecrest Elementary and McAuliffe Elementary.
He's out there helping children cross the street and helping drivers safely exit each school.
"It's quite a challenge, to say the least," Miller said.
Several times over the past few years, he's had close calls while standing in the middle of the roadway. He said he has been almost hit about a dozen times.
"It's fun, and it's challenging, but, to be honest with you, it's dangerous," he said.
So why does he do it? Miller quit his job with the county when he decided to open a pet-sitting business in Hastings. The work as a crossing guard is both fulfilling and it offers a second income throughout nine months of the year.
"It's the perfect part-time job to help me supplement my business," he said. "I thoroughly enjoy interacting with the kids and the adults that go by. The bus drivers are wonderful to me, too. It can be dangerous and challenging, but it's a pleasurable job and a serious responsibility, at the same time."
Five years ago, Miller started as a crossing guard. He's now a traffic control officer and is a City of Hastings employee, working under the police department's wing. He and the traffic control officers go through training on how to handle the traffic. He now has the authority to direct and control traffic, whereas several years ago that was not the case. Students once stood on the sides of the road with flags, but Miller and his colleagues have relieved them of those duties in some cases.
"I don't think the kids could do it," he said. "It's too dangerous."
Miller said his family's move to Hastings has been one they have been thrilled about. He and his wife Julie MacDougal are raising their two daughters here. Cailin is a seventh-grader and Christy is a sophomore. Julie works at the high school in the attendance office.
"I love living here," he said. "I know they enjoy living here, too. We have wonderful schools. It's a wonderful community."
Miller also stays active by serving on the parks and recreation commission and as a volunteer youth coach.
"I just think the world of this community," he said. "I feel fortunate to live here with my family."
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