March Jefferson Award: Barbara Fanelli Miller - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

March Jefferson Award: Barbara Fanelli Miller

MADISON (WKOW) -- Barbara Fanelli Miller pays attention to the little things in life.

Barb has been giving her time as a volunteer since she was a kid.

"I grew up, grade school years, in an apartment in Chicago. We lived on the second floor and there was an older lady on the third floor who took a liking to me. And I would run errands for her, help her get places and things like that. I think it started then," she said.

And what started some seven decades ago as being a kind neighbor matured into being an involved citizen.

Right now, Barb volunteers with two dozen different groups in the Madison area, including the Agrace Hospice Thrift Store.

"She brings a smile every day, she's very friendly with customers, so it's a level of customer service that we like to have," said Judy Purcell, manager of the store.

Over the years, Barb's volunteer efforts have included everything from being a foster parent...

"I took foster babies, like the day after they were born. I took 'em brand new and it was fun, I had four." taking in extra high school students stranded in Madison by a snowstorm during the state basketball tournament.

With three kids of her own and 45 years as a teacher, Barb had lots of audiences with whom to share her volunteer message.

"My kids laugh because they say mom, every time something comes up, even boyfriend troubles when they were younger, you always told us go volunteer for somebody, there's no reason to be sitting around feeling sorry for yourself. Somebody could use your talents, get out there."

Barb's life of volunteering proves one person can make a difference is many different ways.

"I haven't found a cure for cancer or anything. I haven't lost a child and created a support program, you know, a really great thing. But she said mom, you've been doing little things all your life. And, as I think about it, I kind of have."


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