04 Mar From Debra Johnston, Holy Apostles: I am thankful for Henry Miller

I could not let the year come to a close without acknowledging Henry Miller. As a newbie to the world of financial aid, in August of 2009 I was introduced to Henry. I recall Henry’s cherub-like appearance on that blistering hot day bursting into the sunny office and how congenial and gentleman-like he was. So this was the person who was to train me! I had an instant sense that he was very capable. And this moment was not just a new job for me, but a new beginning after being a stay-at-home mom for many years. I have often wondered if I would have accepted the position had it not been for Henry’s encouragement.

Holy Apostles College and Seminary is a little slip of a private school in Cromwell. Henry had been servicing it for 20 years and he was very fond of the institution and deeply concerned that I understand its’ unique aspects. I loved how he would tell me the vast history behind my questions and then hone in and adapt it to our school. His explanations were so interesting and gave such scope to my tiny world that was and is, Holy Apostles College.

Very shortly I knew that he was not only an extraordinary teacher, but also a very good man who really seemed to seek to do the right thing by all people and be on good terms with them. “I want to live in a house by the side of the road, and be a friend to man”….I recall that last line of the famous poem when Henry comes to mind. He was loved and respected by all at Holy Apostles. When someone there asked me if I was going to be filling Henry’s shoes, I told him quickly and sincerely that I could never do that and Henry shot me an affable look and quipped, ‘small man, big feet!’

I would call him many times a week. To my sigh of, “O Henry”, he would quip, “That’s a candy bar”. He would be amazingly patient w/my bumbling attempt to express some question and then spend what seemed to be all the time in the world to help me with the layers I needed to work through to answer it.

I was grateful for him then, but I am Oh, so grateful now. He told me last October that he would retire soon, but would always be available, and there is not a day that goes by that I do not breathe a prayer, ‘O Henry…..’

Yes, I am very thankful that Henry mentored me, that I met such a decent human being who never spoke a negative word about anyone in those fifteen months I was blessed to know him, and lastly, that he allowed me to glimpse financial aid Past and brought me into the world of financial aid Present. He did this with humor and need I say it???…can you guess?….always with a drumroll…. Smile