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Mills honored for his work with youth

October 20, 2005|by TIFFANY ARNOLD

WASHINGTON COUNTY

tiffanya@herald-mail.com

The Washington County Commissioners named Little League coach Harry Mills, 64, of Hagerstown, as one of "Maryland's Most Beautiful People."

Mills received the honor Wednesday at the 19th annual Maryland's Most Beautiful People Volunteer Awards luncheon at Venice Inn.

Part of the state's "Maryland You Are Beautiful Program," the awards ceremony is held in all 23 counties and Baltimore. One outstanding volunteer is chosen by each jurisdiction and will receive state honors at a reception Nov. 8 in Annapolis. Gov. Robert Ehrlich will present each volunteer with an award.

Mills will represent Washington County. He said he was shocked when he found out he was nominated, but getting the top honors came as an even bigger surprise.

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Mills has been involved with youth sports for the past 50 years and is the coach of a Clear Spring Little League baseball team.

"There's a lot of satisfaction with working with children," Mills said. "You watch them develop. Then you see them when they're 24, 25 ... whew, time flashes by."

Mills played softball but was forced to end his career after he was diagnosed with arthritis at the age of 25, he said.

His condition has worsened and he walks with a cane, but that hasn't stopped him from working with children, said Mark Shives, the man who nominated Mills.

Shives, who coaches baseball at Clear Spring High School, said he nominated Mills because Mills was there from the time Shives played baseball as a fourth-grader to well after he returned to Hagerstown after playing professionally in Florida.

"People want things from sports and nobody wants to give anything to the sport," Shives said in a telephone interview. "Coming back now, it's good to see somebody doing that."

In the nomination letter, Shives wrote: "We tend to overlook greatness unless it brings fame to all. Harry never looked for greatness. Harry is a wonderful citizen and he is what the human race should be all about."

The county received more than 350 nominations - about 200 of them from Washington County Hospital - the most ever received, said Tom Riford, president of the Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau and member of the selection committee.

Riford said Shives' nomination letter stood out from the others.

"Some of the nomination letters made us weep," Riford said. "Mr. Mills has overcome and persevered and has never given up. You can say that about all of the volunteers. But Mr. Mills is a great example for Washington County."

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