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Thu., Jan. 19, 2012, 1:24 p.m.

Fairchild docs honor Mary Milla — now

Mary Milla, 91, worked 43 years at Fairchild Air Force Base as a civilian, much of it as secretary to the commanders at Fairchild Hospital. She retired in 1986. She got to know many of the young docs who came through on their military duty. She told them to get haircuts, polish their boots and fine-tune their salutes, all in her kind, mothering tone.

On Wednesday evening, more than 30 of those docs, along with spouses, gathered in the beautiful home of Bridget and Paul Piper for a Fairchild Hospital doctors' reunion. They came to honor Mary. She sat in a chair and held court. Several doctors traveled from out of town just to attend.

The docs are in their 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s, and many of them are considered Spokane's finest physicians. As they reminisced with Mary, the years dropped away and I could see the young men they once were. I was struck by their humility and even asked a few about it. They credited the Fairchild experience -- and Mary.

Mary is in good health. (Her doctors now are doctors she met when they were at Fairchild, so she's in great hands) but when you're 91, there's no predicting what might happen tomorrow The gathering reminded us all to honor those who made a difference in our lives now, rather than later, or rather than wait for the funeral.


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