Thursday, June 4, 2009
Building, grounds supervisor aims high
By SUE WATSON
The City of Holly Springs, which was without a buildings and grounds supervisor since late last summer, has hired Larry Miller to take on the job of keeping the city beautiful.
Miller came on board April 13 after having worked since 2004 for the Marshall County Correctional Facility as a horticulture instructor.
He was born in Laws Hill, the son of the late Clarence and Armer Miller. It was there where he developed a deep love for the earth and plants while he helped his father farm and his grandfather tend his orchard.
“I took to it naturally,” he said. “My grandfather, Knowledge Miller, owned an orchard and I used to help him a whole lot with pruning and grafting and growing watermelons.”
Miller attended Galena School and graduated from Byhalia High School, then studied accounting at Northwest Community College and at Ole Miss.
His first job after high school was at Emerson Electric in Oxford where he worked on corporate projects for the main office in St. Louis as a lab supervisor and a quality assurance engineer and auditor at the plant.
Miller joined the U.S. Marines in 1980 and spent three years in the military and traveled a lot in Japan and Asia. In 1984 he returned to Emerson and soon married his wife D. Miller, who works as office manager at the Holly Springs Utility Department. They have two children - a daughter April who graduated from the University of Memphis and a son Larry Miller Jr. who attends Potts Camp School and is a junior.
The Millers live at Lake Center.
When Emerson Electric had to close its Oxford plant, Miller said he could have transferred to the St. Louis facility but chose instead to stay in Marshall County after a 26-year plus career with Emerson.
While with Emerson, Miller said he continued his life-long interest in landscaping on weekends, learning more about keeping flower beds, grass and other exotic plants. He farmed some, also.
He saw an opening for a horticulture teacher at the correctional facility and applied and was working there before coming to the city.
Miller said he loved teaching horticulture, landscaping and greenhouse operations to inmates and those in the work program.
“I loved training those guys for a trade when they are released,” he said. “I really loved my job out there and I loved those people I worked for.
“I just like to see things grow. I guess I got it from my dad. He was a farmer to the heart - a cotton farmer.”
He said there are issues he would like to address as far as building and grounds is concerned in the City of Holly Springs and he is looking forward to gradually putting together and maintaining a well-equipped and knowledgable building and grounds department.
Besides keeping the historic Hill Crest Cemetery spotless, he is responsible for helping with upkeep at Coopwood park and keeping the right-of-ways cleaned.
He is establishing equipment maintenance as a priority to make the budget stretch further.
As for the cemetery, he wants to improve it for the public to use as a tranquil place.
“I notice a lot of walkers and I want to make it a tranquil scene for walkers and especially for those who have loved ones out there,” he said.
To get more accomplished, Miller wants to add two more employees and a part-time worker - positions that are currently unfilled in his department.
But mostly he wants to build a workforce that loves what they do and who take pride in their work.
“If you don’t have a love for it, it just doesn't work,” he said. “If you are in it for the paycheck, it doesn’t work. If you are in it for your heart, it tends to work out better.
“I’m here for the city of Holly Springs.”
He welcomes ideas and visitors to his department.
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