January 6, 1995 in Idaho

Man Lovingly Takes His Work Home

By The Spokesman-Review
 

At 30 and still a bachelor, Bob Miles became a parent.

It wasn’t a move he had planned, but it certainly wasn’t an accident. And Bob has no regrets.

“It’s sort of like having a roommate,” he says.

Bob’s child is 17. Bob befriended John at Anchor House, where Bob has worked for eight years. Then, he signed on as John’s foster parent.

“You do get closer to some kids than others, and he showed me respect,” Bob says, tugging his Miami Dolphins ballcap over his wild curls.

Like other residents at Anchor House, John has a past filled with neglect and run-ins with the law. Bob has supervised dozens of such boys and every year they get rougher and tougher.

“Things that worked on them five and six years ago don’t anymore,” he says. “They’re getting more aggressive, more defiant.”

His first years at Anchor House, Bob took their insults and attacks personally. One boy even punched him. But he learned that the boys were angry at adults in general, not at him. And he’s the patient sort.

“Let them know you won’t give up on them like other adults have and they usually come around,” he says.

John is one who came around. When the time came for him to leave Anchor House, returning to his parents wasn’t an option. So Bob took him.

“I got cold feet prior to him coming,” Bob says. “I was afraid it’d be like working all the time.”

It hasn’t turned out that way. John’s arrival in July in Bob’s home has sharpened Bob’s senses. He’s a role model now beyond the workplace. He negotiates on the boy’s behalf at school. He shows his foster son how to pay bills, shop, clean the house.

“He’s a constant reminder to me that we’re doing good work even if we can’t help everyone,” Bob says. “Anchor House helped him over the hump. Now he’s just being a normal kid.”

Hungary for Help

No reason to let retirement get in the way of work. Frank Henderson, a former Kootenai County commissioner and Post Falls mayor, took his organizational skills to Hungary last fall.

He wrote a plan to ease the economic crisis, create jobs and rebuild the area. Guess the expertise he gained in Idaho government is no small potatoes.

Grape Expectations

Wine tastings don’t have to be snooty affairs. Hospice of North Idaho holds one every February that only fun people attend. Just ask Hospice.

This year’s party will feature regional wineries, breweries, restaurants and bakeries. It’ll raise money for Hospice, which provides nurses, aides and volunteers so people with terminal illnesses can die at home. Tickets are $55 per person. Call 772-7994.

Dancin’ Feet

The Alvin Ailey Repertory Ensemble brought undulating torsos and mile-high leaps to North Idaho a few years ago, leaving people in five counties awestruck after its performance. The dance troupe was so popular, it has returned to Coeur d’Alene several times.

Catch the dancers’ latest performance Jan. 13 at North Idaho College. Their energy is contagious. Call 667-0547 for tickets.

Hidden Treasure

Digging through the papers on my desk, I found a note about Cathy Hunt, a single mother who lost $500 in Christmas money at the rollerskating rink last month. No sad endings here. A woman found and returned Cathy’s money, but no one shared the Good Samaritan’s name.

If you know who did the good deed or even someone else who has committed an equally unselfish act, tell Cynthia Taggart, “Close to Home,” 608 Northwest Blvd., Suite 200, Coeur d’Alene, 83814; fax to 765-7149; or call 765-7128.


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