“I guess I’m one of those people who are very fortunate to have had a number of different careers,” remarked Brigadier General A. Gary Miller. Currently, he is the Administrative Assistant to the Livingston County Sheriff, but he has served in a number of other positions. He finished a thirty three year teaching career in the Pavilion Central School District as a secondary Social Studies teacher in 1995, and a thirty four year military career in the New York Guard system in September of 2004. “I had the good fortune to have met a lot of really nice people and make many good friends.” During those tenures, he also ran a family retail business and began his law enforcement career, obtaining his police certification and a variety of instructor certifications. “Well rounded,” seems like a fitting way to describe this man. Currently, he has a considerable amount of responsibility in his role at the Sheriff’s department. He also does assessments for New York State and for the New York State Sheriff’s office, helping other offices that are seeking accreditation. In addition, he teaches at a Police Academy, writes all of the agency policies and procedures, does a significant amount of grant writing, and “pretty much anything that the Sheriff assigns.” What seems to be most telling about an individual of such variety is not necessarily all he has done, but rather the constants that have remained through his range of endeavors. For Deputy Gary Miller, his passion for history and his principles are those constants.
His principles are evident in the two pieces of advice he makes an effort to share whenever he gets the chance. “I have always believed that you should strive to do the right thing for the right reason. That is something that is very important to me.” His other mantra is to “Always try to make a significant difference; Make your mark and make it a positive one that enables other people.” Throughout his many careers, his marriage and helping raise his two children, Michelle and Michael, these have been the motivating forces.
As an educator, he was fueled by his passion for history and took on many extra opportunities to make a positive influence. He served as department chair, advisor to the American Field Service Foreign Student Exchange, advisor to the Future Teachers of America and the Student Government. Also, he conducted the Model Congress and Mock Trial programs for eight school districts. His efforts were noticed with a variety of awards both externally, including Outstanding Young American Educator in 1973, and internally, with the fulfillment of making his mark on a younger generation. His military career was filled with many awards and decorations as well. Throughout his efforts with the New York Guard system he had the opportunity to lead many and make an even greater impact. The skills he brought to this role moved him up the ranks to wear he finished in 2004 as Acting Commanding General with a rank of Brigadier General of the Line (achieved in January 1991). These efforts went with much recognized success as well including, two Meritorious Service Medals, two Military Commendation Medals, the New York Guard Commendation Medal, the Long and Faithful Service Medal (for thirty years of service), and many more. No mention of these achievements comes out in conversation with Deputy Miller though. His humbleness and focus on his current tasks and circles of influence are what seem to consume this man. He is constantly trying to do his jobs better and “make his mark.”
When posed with the question of who he would like to meet or have met, he had two people in mind, the late former President Ronald Reagan, whom he “admired from the standpoint of what he did and what his values were.” Deputy Miller felt Reagan handled his presidency well because of his perseverance acting on what he inherited in terms of the military and economy. Ultimately, Miller believes these attributes helped Reagan made a positive impact on the United States. The next person is from the category of war time hero. Lewis B. “Chesty” Puller, a barrel-chested Marine who served in both World War II and Korea and was awarded the Navy Cross five times, which is second only to the Medal of Honor. Miller quipped that Puller probably never earned the Medal of Honor because he was not very politically correct. The admiration of Puller comes from his tenacity, courage, and personal values which stayed constant through his efforts. Miller told a story of when General Puller and his First Marine Division were surrounded in Korea in the throws of a deep freeze winter. Puller’s comment after hearing about this formidable situation was, “Good, now they can’t get away!” He then fought his division out of that area and back into South Korea. A photo of “Chesty” Puller remains on the wall behind Deputy Miller’s desk.
In the spirit of history, if Deputy Miler could live in any time period, he would like to have been around during the great change in American history influenced during the Civil War time period and the reign of President Lincoln. His preference is living right now though. In fact, the first thing he thinks about in the morning is, “What did I miss in the previous day?” In response, he grabs the paper and reflects on all of the things that are going on in the United States and in the world.
When he is not checking up on the world or working, Deputy Miller enjoys watching the Syracuse University basketball team and the New York Yankees; both of which he is a big time fan. He enjoys gardening or “weeding” as he describes it as his wife Barbara is the “green-thumb.” In addition, he enjoys camping and spending time with his three grand-children. German cooking is his favorite but he also likes pizza and real Italian food. In terms of a candy bar, “any chocolate will do.” One of his favorite books is American Caesar: Douglas MacArthur 1880-1964 by William Manchester. In his future retirement, the sixty-six year old Miller, who remains in excellent health, plans to continue living in Western New York with his wife, another former educator, and spending more time with his children and grand children. He attributes his success to his organizational skills, hard work, and values.
A quote that has stuck with Miller for much of his life is one by Ralph Waldo Emerson. “There is a time in every man's education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide.” This seems to hold true in Miller’s life as he has made his own original mark on this world and will no doubt continue his positive influence. Deputy A. Gary Miller’s principles have stayed true throughout all of his endeavors and that defines his success.
Deputy A. Gary Miller
Livingston County Sheriff’s Department
4 Court Street
Geneseo, NY 14454