Senior couple

Rosalie Miller, 81, and Bernie Miller, 85, both of Mesa, Ariz.,  stand outside Banner Baywood Medical Center, where they volunteer.

In the most unlikely of places, you can meet someone who can change the course of your life.

Mesa residents Rose and Bernie Miller met in March 2000 while volunteering at Banner Baywood Medical Center.

What started as a way to get involved in their community turned into a chance for another chapter of their lives.

Bernie lived in Minnesota and while staying for winters in Arizona decided to volunteer. Rose’s brother, a retired doctor, suggested she volunteer at a local hospital. They both met at Banner Baywood.

Rose Miller, 81, started volunteering after she lost her husband three years earlier; Bernie Miller, 85, began three years after he was divorced.

“It was an answered prayer that we met,” Rose said. “It’s just amazing how we happened to strike up a conversation at the hospital.”

After some time at Banner Baywood, the Millers volunteered at Banner Desert Medical Center until transferring to Banner Gateway Medical Center, which is closer to their home.

At Banner Desert, Rose volunteered at the front information desk and as a cuddler for babies. Bernie worked at the front desk, outpatient services and radiology.

“The first time we went out, he reached over and touched my arm and said ‘So, do you make hot dishes?’ and I said ‘Sometimes I put stuff in a casserole and stick it in the oven, does that count as a hot dish?’ and he said ‘Yeah, you betcha!’”

The couple married in July of 2000, just four months after they met.

Rose said when she told her six children and Bernie told his three children, they all had the same reaction: You’re going to do what?

The response: We’re going to get married.

“As we stood there and the preacher was going on with the vows and such, I just kind of internally looked up to heaven and said ‘Please dear Lord give us five good years,’” she said.

The Millers celebrated their 15th anniversary in July.

“Bernie said to me, ‘It’s too bad we didn’t meet sooner,’ and I said ‘No, You wouldn’t have liked me then.’ God had work to do on me before he would have liked me.”

“I tease him that he married me for my hot dishes, and I married him for his cabin on the lake in Minnesota,” Rose said.

Both currently volunteer at Banner Gateway Medical Center in Gilbert. Rose volunteers as a cuddler, where she cuddles and feeds babies in the nursery, and Bernie works in the wound center and at the information desk for the Women and Infant Services unit.

Rose said she likes to volunteer and enjoys the opportunity to help others. She said she prays that the babies in the nursery are just as blessed she is by being there and assisting.

She said Bernie enjoys helping others and that he has benefited in multiple ways by volunteering his time.

“I do believe it’s helped; both of us have benefited tremendously in all those aspects, physically, mentally and spiritually, that’s our holy trinity,” Rose said.

“Its been an incredible, wonderful adventure.”

• Contact writer: 480-898-6581 or atufts@evtrib.com.

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