A former Columbus police sergeant and Canal Winchester mayor has been tapped to lead the American Red Cross chapter serving Fairfield and Hocking counties.

A former Columbus police sergeant and Canal Winchester mayor has been tapped to lead the American Red Cross chapter serving Fairfield and Hocking counties.

Jeff Miller, Canal Winchester mayor from 2004-07 and a current resident of the city, was promoted last week to full-time executive director of the American Red Cross of Fairfield and Hocking Counties.

Michael Carroll, chief executive officer of the American Red Cross of Central Ohio, made the announcement on Oct. 18.

Miller was selected to succeed former executive director Susan Nixon Stoughton, who resigned last July. Since that time, Miller has been serving as the organization’s interim executive director.

“Jeff has a sincere interest in ensuring that the citizens in Fairfield and Hocking counties receive the very best Red Cross service possible,” Carroll said. “I have every confidence that he will be successful in growing the volunteer and financial support within the communities as well.”

Miller, 57, has more than 30 years of public service experience.

Prior to serving one term as Canal Winchester mayor, he spent 27 years as a Columbus police officer.

Miller’s final day on the force was April 13, 2001. Rather than ride quietly off the beat, he was called that day from a retirement luncheon to talk a man who was threatening suicide off a farm silo.

He said his law enforcement background, which included training in hostage negotiation and disaster response, as well as his time in public office, prepared him well for work with the Red Cross.

“It was preparing me for this position, maybe by fate,” Miller said.

Miller became involved with the local Red Cross six years ago when, as Canal Winchester mayor, he was invited to join the organization’s board of directors.

He said that experience, coupled with the generosity of a neighbor and others after he lost his home to a fire caused by lightning several years ago, reinforced his belief in the importance of service to the public and the Red Cross.

“There was such an outpouring of support,” he said. “It’s a wonderful, giving community.

“The folks in Fairfield and Hocking counties think nothing of reaching out and helping people in their communities,” Miller added.

In recent months, the local Red Cross has dealt with the resignation of Stoughton and staff cuts brought on by financial constraints. Despite those losses, Miller said, the organization continues to provide disaster relief and a multitude of assistance and education programs.

He said he hopes to maintain those services with the help of “hundreds” of volunteers in Fairfield and Hocking counties.

“We’re going to continue to make sure the community is served in a way it always has been,” he said. “We’re certainly not going to go backwards.

“The goal is to move forward and improve the processes and keep everything as accessible as it currently is. We’re viable and relevant, and we’re going to continue to be.”

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