OF THE WEEK:
Star of Hope
Desiree Gaoiran, Staff
Dr. Gerald H. Miller, Ph. D, originally from the state
of Michigan, has been Star of Hope’s Executive Director for 11
years. Before taking the position, he was the Director of Social
Services, and Clinic Director for a residential substance abuse center
in Salt Lake City, Utah. When the clinic closed in Utah, the state of
Utah hired him as Deputy Public Guardian. “It was a great job, I
really enjoyed it, but it didn’t have that special something that
grabbed me,” he explained.
He began looking on the internet for something new and he happened to
come across a job opening at Star of Hope. After reading the job
description he thought it would be the perfect fit! After emailing
them, he had a telephone interview, and was invited to Oregon for an in
person interview. He was a bit skeptical about the Oregon Coast because
he had never been here before. He decided to drive to Bandon to check
out the beaches. “The sun was out, the sky was blue, and I fell
in love with the Oregon Coast,” he explained.
Dr. Gerald H.
Miller, Ph. D, and Executive Director of Star of Hope with some of the
beautiful woodwork that their Oregon Connection House of Myrtlewood has
In 1964, the Star of Hope was started by a group of
parents of young adults with developmental disabilities. They began a
recycling operation and found jobs for their sons and daughters. It has
since evolved into an organization that offers comprehensive services,
from residential and vocational to supported living and employment.
“I think the name has gone beyond hope. It’s
opportunity now and we provide that,” Dr. Miller says with a
In 2005, Star of Hope wanted to diversify their funding
base. They didn’t want to just rely on government contracts for
funding. They began writing grants, getting more contracts from the
government, upgraded their recycling operation, and started
making woven rugs, placemats, and greeting cards.
While working out at the athletic club, Dr. Miller met a
man named Les Streeter, and they became friends. One day Les mentioned
that he, along with Patricia and Joe Benetti, was going to be selling
the Oregon Connection House of Myrtlewood. One thing led to another and
Dr. Miller, along with the Board of Directors, decided to purchase the
business. They kept all the old employees and added Star of Hope
clients as well. The old employees were blown away by how well they all
worked together. “There was a big misconception about what it
would be like working with people with developmental
disabiltities,” Dr. Miller says. However, it didn’t take
long for the old employees to realize just how wonderfully they worked
alongside each other, and many lasting friendships were developed.The
store has expanded since then. All of the airports carry their
merchandise and they are the only place in town that the tour buses
that visit this area.They are now also doing internet sales.
“Landa Waters, General Manager, is just exceptional in the way
she relates with people. She has an eye for products and then works on
developing products that the customers are buying,” Dr. Miller
says. The Oregon Connection House of Myrtlewood is located at 1125 S
1st St in Coos Bay and you can reach them by calling (541) 267-7804.
Star of Hope has also worked hard expanding their
recycling operation and they work with International Paper.
“Shredded paper is a commodity. It’s not landfill. It sells
on the market,” Dr. Miller explains. He encourages everyone to
check out the Oregon Connection House of Myrtlewood if they have never
been there. “The products you buy there help to run Star of Hope.
Also, if you have phone books, cardboard, paper, or magazines you would
like to get rid of, we would love to take them off your hands,”
Dr. Miller says. When you buy something from their store or donate your
recycling to them, you are supporting the future prosperity of one of
Coos County’s most vital organizations, while providing hope and
“Opportunity” to so many people in our community. The Star
of Hope is located at 657 Newmark in Coos Bay. You can reach them at
local Classifieds on the Southern Oregon Coast!
Updated Every Thursday:
Find A Shopper In Your
Coast Lodging Guide
Oregon Coast City Guides
Local Weather On The