Tim MacDonald Havre Daily News firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Frank Miller spent his last day at the Northern Montana Health Center carboloading with cake and frosting before he set out on the journey of a lifetime. Miller is planning to walk the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine, a distance of 2,175 miles, not just to mark his retirement, but to raise funds for the proposed Hi-Line Sletten Cancer Center here in Havre. “I think the hike will take around six months, but it may take seven or eight, depending on where I find to stop along the way,” Miller said. The doctor is a specialist in Obstetrics and Gynecology. He estimates that he has delivered over five thousand babies in his twentyfive- year career, including one the night before his retirement and reception at the Havre hospital. “It was a nice healthy eightpound baby, a great going-away present,” Miller said. Miller will be going it alone along the long trail. His wife Mariann will be staying in Havre where she works as a nursing teacher at Montana State University, Northern. “My wife doesn’t camp. She just doesn’t like it,” Miller said. Miller left Havre right after his reception to drive to Great Falls, then fly to Denver and finally Atlanta yesterday, but he may have met with the first stumbling block in his travels with the cancellation of many flights into Atlanta because of a freak ice storm that struck the city’s airport, but a day or two in delays will likely not leave him dismayed. Miller is a quite avid hiker who has traversed part of the Divide Trail in Montana. “That is said to be the toughest hiking trail there is,” he said. The Sletten Cancer Center is presently in Great Falls, but the Northern Montana Health Care Foundation, which is accepting donations in the name of Miller’s sojourn, is planning to open a branch in Havre. “We feel it will be better for residents of the Hi-Line to be closer to their family if they are struck with cancer,” Executive Director of the Northern Montana Health Care Foundation Christen Obresley said. People interested in making contributions can make per-mile pledges or lumpsum donations to the Northern Montana Health Care Foundation at P.O. Box 1231 in Havre. The phone number for the foundation is (406) 262-1354, E-mail is at NMH Care.org. The goal is to raise $1.2 million to build the Center which will be located just west of the Northern Montana Medical Group building. “We expect to serve around one hundred people a year at the facility, based on the cancer rate in our area,” Obresley said. Interested parties can track Miller on their computers at TrailJournals.com, “The Walrus,” after the doctor’s distinctive Fu Man Chu moustache. Miller doesn’t plan on retiring completely after his hike, he said he will be taking part in a program where he would work part time to replace doctors who are on leave. “Right now I am looking forward to getting away, but I’m sure I will miss working after a few months off,” he said.