Local Business News on the Southern Oregon Coast
Local Businesses on the Southern Oregon Coast Featured in the South Coast Shopper
BUSINESS OF THE WEEK:
Star of Hope 
By Desiree Gaoiran, Staff Writer 

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 to offer! 

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 smile.

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 (541) 888-8893.

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