Honoring Vivian “Millie” Bailey.

11 11 2019

Millie Bailey Framed Portrait Pam Long Photography 2

Happy Veterans Day. On this and every day, I want to thank all veterans.  THANK YOU, and your families, for your service and for your sacrifices. 

Today I want to especially honor Ms. Vivian “Millie” Bailey.  Ms. Bailey served as a lieutenant in the Women’s Army Corps during World War II.  

Ms. Bailey is 101 years old.  She is one of the most inspirational people I’ve spent time with these past few years. She’s obviously beautiful, but she’s also generous with her kindness and time, she’s quite funny and very quick witted, refreshingly honest, upbeat and positive, her energy level is off the charts, simply put…she’s EXTRAORDINARY! 

Ms. Bailey, I salute you and all those who have served, and those who continue to serve. Because of your sacrifice and bravery, we enjoy many freedoms.  Thank you for the example you set for us all. 

Millie deserves your time to read every word that these beautiful people have written about her.  I know you’ll enjoy learning more about her as you read along. 

 

Relentless but kind and compassionate in her efforts to help people:  Millie would frequently call the police department to get names of officers who were deployed so she could send care packages.  I would tell her I would get back with the names the next day.  Of course, sometimes I would get busy and forget.  By noon the next day, I recognized the number on caller ID.  Millie said, “I know you are busy and may have forgotten, but I need the officers’ names so I can get my packages to the Post Office later today.”  Of course, I stopped what I was doing immediately and got those names! While I knew she has sent packages for years, I didn’t realize until recently that she has been sending packages since the Vietnam War.  A simple example of the kindness and compassion she has for people she doesn’t even know.  She is truly a saint.

Humor:  Alarm at house When Millie lived on West Running Brook she accidentally activated the home alarm one day.  She called the Police Dispatch Center and told the dispatcher there was no need to send an officer.  The dispatcher explained that we must send an officer to verify everything was ok.  I happened to be in the area and responded.  When I arrived, Millie was outside waiting.  She was happy to see someone she knew because she was embarrassed.  She told me that she tried to cancel the call.  I told her it was policy that I needed some identification to verify her identity.  She smiled and promptly responded that she would be right back after she called Chief Robey.  Millie knew everyone in the County, and she could get things done quickly.  We had a good laugh together.

Millie is always great with advice: Recently when I picked Millie up for lunch, I asked her if she was ok to go out in the cold.  She told me it doesn’t bother her and there’s no sense complaining about things you can’t control.  Millie said, “You must learn how to work through things you can’t control!”      Advice well taken…I couldn’t argue that point!

Final Thought:  Millie is simply an incredible person filled with love and kindness for everyone she meets.  In consideration of some adversity she has experienced in her lifetime, it’s amazing to see the enormous compassion and positivity she expresses to people every day.  She is rarely in a bad mood and brings a smile to your face every time you meet her.  God Bless Millie!

~Gary Gardner, Former Howard County Police Chief 

**

Over a span of more than 40 years, I  have loved the countless times I sat across the kitchen table from my dear friend, Millie Bailey – both in her Running Brook home and her Vantage House home. We spoke of life and love and courage and wisdom and friendship. My grandson, Zach, loved Millie very much. I have learned so much from her – including how to “walk that walk“, although she said I wasn’t a very good student on that one.

My times with Millie are among the most treasured moments of my life.

~Liz Bobo, Former County Executive and member of Maryland House of Delegates

**

Vivian “Millie” Bailey has accomplished more in her lifetime than anyone else I know….and she shows no signs of slowing down.  Through her service during World War II, her longtime work with the Howard County Police Department and Howard County General Hospital, her volunteer service at Running Brook Elementary School, and the Care Packages she organizes to send to those in the military serving overseas (just to name a few of her activities), Millie has touched and influenced many, many people.  However, when you speak with Millie, you see right away that it has not been about her.  Her only motive is to make our community and country a better place for everyone.  Millie has a huge heart and I am honored to be have been able to work with her and to call her my friend.”

~Allan Kittleman, Former County Executive, Former Maryland State Senator

**

I have had the privilege to know Millie Bailey from my first months on the police department in 1984.  Mr. and Mrs. Bailey and I hit it off right away, and we became close friends.  I continue to enjoy the position of “adopted nephew” to my Aunt Millie.

My late grandmother was in her eighties when I introduced the ladies to each other.  We went to Clyde’s at Aunt Millie’s suggestion.  The ladies talked over cream of crab soup for more than two hours, and they were friends thereafter, getting together for lunches and other visits.

Years later, “Bubbles,” as we called her, needed hip replacement surgery, and her operation was scheduled to take place at Howard County General Hospital, where Aunt Millie served on the Board of Directors.  The ladies shared the same orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Eugene Willis, whom Aunt Millie knew well enough to call “Pebbles.”

The surgery was scheduled to be Dr. Willis’s first of the early morning, and we were to arrive at the hospital for registration and prep work by 4:45am.  Yes, AM.  We arrived not a moment early.  As we stepped into the intake room, there was Aunt Millie, paging through a magazine.  I’ll paraphrase: “Well, I was just about to have them call you to make sure that you woke up!”  Astonished, we couldn’t believe that Aunt Millie was there to support her friend and wish her well.  She stayed until the last possible minute, and then made me promise to keep her informed of Bubbles’ progress.  I did so.  One does not let Aunt Millie down.  It’s just a fact of nature.

The surgery went well, and Dr. Willis told me to go about my business and to not return until at least 2:00pm, when Bubbles would be awake and alert.  At 2:00, I went to her assigned room, and I found two empty beds, obviously unused.  When your ninety-plus year-old grandmother just went through major surgery and you find an empty bed, your mind goes to the worst possible scenario.  I was relieved to find out that there had been a room change, and I went to the new room.  As I approached, I could hear Bubbles’ voice (Whew!).

I opened the door to find that Bubbles was in a beautiful, private VIP room with huge windows, and she was talking with the Executive Chef of the hospital.  Pad and pencil in hand, he was asking what she might like for dinner.  “What are my choices?”  “Anything you wish, ma’am, just name it.”

We talked for a few minutes, and Bubbles fell back to sleep.  Aunt Millie arrived shortly thereafter.  Again, I’ll paraphrase: “Bubbles spent forty-five years as a doctor, taking care of sick children, and never asked for anything special in return.  She deserves to be treated well, and she will be, if I have anything to say about it.”

“By the way, Vic Broccolino will be in to check on her later.  I’ll be back tomorrow.  She needs her rest.  Don’t stay too long.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

~Martin Johnson 

**

In a lifetime it is rare to come across someone like Miss Bailey, who I have come to know as Millie, that can fill up places in your heart you never knew existed. To make assumptions based upon her small frame is a grave mistake and one corrected within a short time of being in her presence. To spend time with her is to is know the mighty strength of intellect, grace, perseverance, sense of justice and determination of a beautiful woman who has walked our planet for nearly 102 years. However, it is the continued spirit of a giving heart and doing something kind each day that fuels her to connect to those both locally and around the globe through her care package initiative for the troops, field trip support for our children, and tireless advocacy to fill our food bank. Her lessons to me are a treasured gift that I take to heart.  Every day Millie’s spirit inspires me to think bigger, do more, be bolder, go bravely and strive to bring as much joy and compassion to this world that I can. 

~Kimberley McGill

**

I have had the pleasure of knowing Ms. B for about six years now.  We are both military Veterans and met during our initiation ceremony into the local American Legion Post.  Sitting next to me at that ceremony was this woman who had served as a 1st LT in the Women’s Army Corps, U.S. Army, during World War II.  Not only that – which is significant enough in its own right – but she also achieved the position of Unit Commander, Women’s Colored Detachment #2 at Fort Benning, Georgia.  Her stories of those times should be recorded in the history books.  And that was just the early years of her life.  That same intelligence, professionalism, and competence were present in the rest of her accomplished career and it continues to this day in everything she does.  Ms. Bailey has been an inspiration to me since that first day and continues as a role model on how to live a principled and meaningful life.  Being in her orbit is to truly learn about grace, perseverance, honor and moral courage. Ms. B is a treasure to her country, her community and all those who have the privilege of knowing her.

~Wanda Riddle, CAPT, USN (ret)

**

She is a such a treasure to our community. I know she has served on a variety of boards and commissions, including the Police Foundation, where she was such a force for ensuring that our Police Department and community had a healthy, respectful and productive relationship.

What has struck me even more than these “official” volunteer activities, however, is the example she has given to us of the power of one person to make a difference in relatively small ways. Her commitment to Running Brook ES and leveraging others to assist shows the power of what one person can do… independent of any formal organization. The same is true for of her military care packages, which we assisted with the Sheriff’s Office.

She is smart, funny, persistent, fiercely loyal, demanding and compassionate. I will sum up my feelings like this….there are many people who I respect. There are very few I fear disappointing. She is on that list.

~Bill McMahon, Former Howard County Chief of Police, Former Howard County Sheriff

**

I think the secret to Miss Millie’s longevity is that she puts others first: needy school children, deployed military and hungry Howard County residents plus many more. She also has a special ability to recruit others to help her with her projects. There is a Miss Millie community led by Millie Bailey that does a lot of good things in Howard County! She loves doing all these projects and working with people in her community. And, the community loves her!

~Judy Dye

**

Millie Bailey…. Who knew a young girl growing up in Oklahoma would years later change lives for so many in Howard County, Maryland and truly so many other places in the world?

Millie’s home is filled with trophies, certificates and awards from our grateful community because her heart is filled with love, grace, compassion and hope for tomorrow for those who find themselves struggling today.

I know Millie from the work she has done at the Community Action Council and her boundless spirit of giving to the Howard County Food Bank and our housing program.  These programs are there to lend a helping hand to those who find themselves face to face with a crisis.  And the programs are sustainable because of generous supporters like Vivian Bailey who are the true unsung heroes behind these operations.

Millie’s words at the Holland Awards Dinner will always stay with me “we can each do a little more…its that simple.”

Vivian Bailey makes it easy to love, to embrace, to give, and to imagine a world where we all got each other’s backs.

~Bita Dayhoff, President, Community Action Council of Howard County

**

Millie has a strength and grace that is consistent and unwavering. She is sharp, witty, and fun, as well. She is a true friend to me, through actions and words, as she is to her local and armed forces communities. I am honored to know her, I appreciate her service to the country, and I am lucky to call her my friend. 

~Rebecca Norlander 

**

Millie is not only a great American, but a warm and wonderful human being. She cares deeply about our country and her community. While many people her age are content to sit back and let others do the work, Millie – a Veteran herself – continues to support our troops serving overseas by providing care packages that she puts together herself, thanks to the donations she solicits from friends and the community. The vets love Ms. Millie and the touch loving of “home” she sends their way. 

~Kathy Sloan-Beard

 

A very special thank you to everyone who contributed and shared your thoughts about beautiful Ms. Bailey.

 


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