By Lyle Carter
Being involved with good deeds and charities is a way of life for Helen Miller.
Take, for example, one of Miller's more recent projects, this one in support of the St. Andrews United Church of which she is a longtime member.
"Every church needs money," explained the 87-year-old Truro resident. "Two years ago I decided I'd bake pies as a way of giving. I made 171 pies. Some were apple and some were mincemeat."
Miller sold apple pies for $6 and mincemeat pies for $10, and wound up donating $1,000 in proceeds to the church.
This year she increased her baking and made 257 pies.
"I was able to give more than $1,000 this time. I was just glad that God gave me the energy to do it."
Miller has also been involved with the UCW (United Church Women) for more than 40 years.
"Right now we are crocheting mats for Haiti," she said. "We make them from milk bags. I have crocheted two to date and I'm working on a third.
"There really is a feeling of satisfaction in doing something for others. There's something special about it. Serving God, sometimes it's hard to find the right words to express how I feel."
Miller feels she is no different then other people who enjoy giving to local charities and helping the less fortunate.
Perhaps some of her outlook on life can be found in a poem she asked me to read. In part, it read:
‘So, here's a list of what I'd like, believe now what I say, pajamas for a little child, food to feed the poor. Blankets for a shelter, and I ask but little more.
"I have my fill of garments, blouses, underwear and socks, So please take what you would spend on me and help the poor instead. And I'll thank God you listened to what I had to say, So we'll be the instruments to help someone in this way.'
Diane Dunlap has known Miller for more than 30 years.
"Helen is definitely not a person to look for praise or recognition," said Dunlap, of Truro. "That would be far from her mind. Quietly, she has done an awful lot for other people in her lifetime. Helen has an unbelievable interest in giving. She gets such enjoyment out of doing for others. She is just a very wonderful person."
Miller (nee Roulston) was born and grew up in Upper Nine Mile River, Hants County. After completing high school, she attended Nova Scotia Normal College in Truro en route to a long teaching career.
"I finished at Hants East Rural High School in 1982 after about 25 years in the classroom," she said. "But, I haven't really stopped teaching. I tutor whenever I get the opportunity. I put my name in at Cobequid Educational Centre and the teachers pass my name along. I tutor math and I love it. When young people come back later and tell me they made a good mark - that is all the pay I want."
Miller and her husband, Gordon, married in 1947. The couple raised three children and also took in nine children through the Children's Aid Society. Lending a hand to social services, the couple accepted five seniors as boarders over the years. Gordon passed away in 1993.
Never one to be content with sitting idle, Miller does considerable knitting.
"The needle was hot, but as Christmas approached this year I realized that I couldn't handle any more orders," she said. "My son James put in an order for four pairs of wool socks like they wear in skates. His wife Amelia needed two pairs for her grandsons and the orders kept coming."
Lyle Carter's column appears every Tuesday in the Truro Daily News. If you have a column idea, contact him at 673-2857.