Sitting at the scoring table at Hoquiam Square Garden, Paul McMillan has had one of the best seats in the house as the Hoquiam High School public address announcer for more than 30 years. McMillan is a life-long Hoquiam resident — 1973 HHS grad, plus a 1975 Grays Harbor College grad and 1977 Central Washington University grad (Bachelor’s in Education) — and he has a pretty good seat at the Hoquiam City Council table as well and is a retired middle school teacher. The 59-year-old lives in Hoquiam with his wife Cynthia, who is still working as an elementary school teacher in Hoquiam, and daughter, Molly. The McMillan’s oldest daughter, Katie, lives in Southern California.
On the Hoquiam City Council, what was your main motivation to go into public office?
My main motivation was watching what my father, Ken “Butch” McMillan and what he was doing on different committees within Hoquiam, and my uncle Don Weisel and what he was doing in South Bend. Seeing both of them being so active as I got older, I just thought it was my time to pay back to the people of Hoquiam. So I decided 19 years ago, I would begin by running for city council.
Describe what life is like as a city councilman in Hoquiam?
It is an honor to represent the citizens of Hoquiam. Life as a city councilman is very busy as I am not only on the city council, but also on the Public Safety Committee, Regulatory Committee, Library board, 911 board, and LEOFF 1 board. Each of these committees and city council meetings give me a lot of paperwork to read and go over. Then you need to talk to department heads to make sure you understand all the information presented.
What are some of the issues you believe are the most important the council is/will be taking on in 2014?
Important issues in 2014 will be the marijuana issue that the state is giving to the cities to handle. We also need to continue our sidewalk program in different areas of Hoquiam. The water line and sewer line will have some work done to update them in 2014. We need to put the finishing touches at Pocklington Park. We will upgrade the East Side Fire Station, and get the new ladder truck up and running.
What are some of the good things (and bad things) about being on the council?
It is a pleasure to make improvements that benefit a large portion of our population like Pocklington Park, opening the jail and the new ladder truck. However, there is never enough money to accomplish all the things you would like to see done.
Is there one thing you’d like to accomplish before your time on the council is done?
Before I leave the city council I would like to see the completion of the new water and sewer lines. Our forefathers did an excellent job providing these vital services 50 years ago to our citizens and now it is up to us to maintain and replace them as needed.
From your post as Hoquiam High School’s public address announcer, would it be safe to say you are the voice of Hoquiam Square Garden?
The girls basketball team didn’t have an announcer. A parent, Patty Talley, asked me if I would like to announce the girls games in 1982 and I have done every girls game since. About 10 years ago I started announcing the boys basketball games. Then I added volleyball, wrestling, track (middle school and high school), and girls’ fast pitch. I have also announced the Grizzly Alumni Cross Country Meet. So, I guess I am the voice of the Grizzlies.
In your time as the PA announcer, what are some of your more memorable games you’ve witnessed?
Any game between Aberdeen and Hoquiam is special, but I would say the first year the girls beat Aberdeen would be a highlight. I also was able to announce all of the games during the boys’ undefeated state championship year that was special. Then watching players like Lori Talley, Mindy Teagle, Angela Elway, Jeff Wayman, Julie Reynvaan, Jennifer Eastburn, Carrie Thompson, Justin Reed, Joey Wayman, Shayne Reynvaan, and so many others from up close that was and is a treat each game. Of course, listening to the greatest pep band in the nation each game is a pleasure.
What are some of the stories you can share about watching the games from the scoring table that others didn’t know from the stands?
Coach Ed Dawson is a very funny man during the games. The last few years a wonderful lady, Janice Pumphrey, brings goodies to the score table, Daily World Staff, and the officials. Other than that, what happens at the score table stays at the score table.
Do you do any pre-game work on the names and teams before the games?
Before each game I will ask a player, parent, or the scorekeeper how to say all of the names of the away team. Even with their help I still make mistakes but usually a parent will point the error out to me sometime during the game.
Do you have a pre-game ritual?
I always get to the gym very early and grab two programs for the boy’s game and two for the girl’s game so I don’t have to turn them over during the game. Then I go and check on the names of the opposing team. Then I announce the Hoquiam team as they come onto the floor.
Dealing with middle school students, are there any parallels to what you are doing today?
I tried to teach my middle school students to plan for their futures in college, trade school, work, or the military. Then I asked them what do they need to do in school to get to their goal. I try to do the same planning in the city by looking at how we want the city of Hoquiam to be in 20 years and then working backward to see what we need to do now to lead us to that goal.
Do you miss being in the classroom?
I loved being a teacher and watching a child’s eyes light up when they understood the lesson. I taught history and tried to make history come alive for the students with stories and background information. I even took 10 groups of students to Washington, D.C., about 500 students in all, from Hoquiam so they could see history come alive. I miss teaching but there are many wonderful teachers and it was time for the next generation to take over in the classroom.
How has teaching changed from when you started to when you retired?
The students remained the same for all 33 years, as they say kids are kids. Technology sure has changed over the years. When I started teaching we used chalk and chalkboards, now they use Ipads and Smartboards.
Away from the school and the council, what do you do?
I am very involved right now in getting the Hoquiam School District M&O levy passed. I am co-chairman of the Kids First Hoquiam School District levy committee with Patrick Durney so I am working on that daily right now. I am also involved in the Grizzly Alumni Assn. a group of former Grizzlies that try to help the students of Hoquiam High School any way we can with scholarships and more. I also help out at the 7th Street Theatre with the movies they show there. As often as I can, I help with bingo at Pacific Care Center. They seem to like my loud voice.
How many trips to Disneyland have you and the family taken over the last couple of years?
We go to Disneyland or Disneyworld at least once every year and have done so for many years. We do love Disneyland, but mostly we go to see our daughter Katie who has worked for Disney for the past few years.
Anything else to add?
I grew up in the city of Hoquiam. I am now working very hard to make the future the best it can be for Hoquiam and its citizens. It is the time for my generation to make this a great place for future Grizzlies.