WAMEGO (KSNT) – At the Good Samaritan Valley Vista nursing home in Wamego, Kansas you’ll find a devoted volunteer with a wicked sense of humor and a passion for plants.
“I don’t like artificial plants at all,” Greg Miller said. “They just don’t do it for me.”
About 6 years ago, Miller started volunteering at the facility and took over the nursing homes greenhouse.
He grows an array of potted plants, where many of them wind up in the rooms of those living at the facility.
“These rooms do not have enough life for plants, so they bring it back,” Millers said while describing the plants that typically don’t survive in the resident’s rooms at the nursing home. “And they’ll ask, ‘can I have another one?'”
Miller always agrees, joking he looks at the plants, dead or alive as an olive branch in a way.
It’s Miller’s way of connecting with and cheering up the residents, and it’s be come Miller’s way of coping.
You see, a couple of years ago Miller was diagnosed with Parkinson’s, “I was laying around being depressed and feeling sorry for myself.”
To keep his mind off his diagnoses, he offered to volunteer two afternoons a week – at least, that was the initial plan.
Now he’s at the facility checking in almost every day.
“My wife doesn’t like that so much,” he said. “Even on weekends I come up, I just can’t stay away.”
Here’s the crazy thing, some people tried to persuade Miller from volunteering at the nursing home.
Assuming it would only bring him down, little did they know it would have the exact opposite effect.
“It gave me purpose, you know even though it’s hard for me to do this work, and it gets harder all the time, I have to do it I just have to push myself, and I’m going to keep pushing myself until I can’t go anymore.”
Miller holds a plant sale every year in May to raise money for more seeds and soil.
His dream is to win the Powerball so that he can get a new greenhouse at the facility, ideally one big enough so the residents can visit. Right now, it’s just too small for anyone in a wheelchair to get through.