Donna G. Miller - Owner / Flight Nurse
February 25th, 2012 by Flying ICU
Donna G. Miller
Owner & Flight Nurse
Donna’s motto is “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”
And her life is an example of this truism. Her story is also the story of legal immigration in America; the opportunities; and the hard work it takes to take advantage of the opportunities America provides. Donna was born and raised in working class family in Romania. Since she was not born in the elite class, she had no prospects, and no possibility of advancing beyond meaningless jobs. Donna dreamt of making her life better than is was,
or could be, in Romania; and to realize that dream she knew she had to emigrate.
In 1991 Donna immigrated to America. She was 22 years old, newly married, spoke no English, and knew next to nothing about America. She brought nothing more than the clothes on her back. But she also brought her dream; her determination; her ambition; and her work ethic.
Shortly after arriving in America, her daughter, Kimberly was born. Another dream realized; another dream born. Make her daughter’s life better too.
From 1991 to 1994, Donna learned English; in part, by watching Sesame Street and other children’s shows with her young daughter. She also took a full-time job as a home health aide. But she wanted more.
In 1994, Donna became a United States citizen; and enrolled in Nursing School in Rochester, New York. She spent the next two years, working full-time; raising her daughter; and studying. Studying included a nursing text book on one side of the table and an American-Romanian dictionary on the other side. What took natural born speakers one hour to study would often take her three. But she persevered. In 1996, Donna graduated from nursing school. She was now 27 years old; a registered nurse; and a single mother of a 5 year old little girl. Dreams come with a price, and Donna had paid it. But she wanted more. She became a critical care nurse and in 1999, Donna moved to Las Vegas to work at Valley Hospital ICU.
But one dream remained unfulfilled. Since Donna was a little girl, her dream was to fly. So while working at Valley Hospital, she discovered that nurses could fly. Donna became a flight nurse with a Las Vegas based air ambulance company. After a short while she was promoted as the Base Manager. She had achieved her dream to fly, but she wanted more. She didn’t want to fly with somebody else’s wings; she wanted to fly with her own.
So in 2002, together with another nurse, Donna began her own flight company, Life Guard International Air Ambulance.
She was now 33 years old, and she had been in the USA for 10 years; and through her hard work and the opportunities America had given her, she had earned her wings. But as so often happens, opportunity gained can also be lost. In 2006, Donnas’ business partner lost interest in Life Guard International and the business collapsed. However, Donna knew the business was sound; and with hard work and a will she knew it could succeed.
In 2007, she then reorganized Life Guard International, bought her first airplane and started the hard work that she knew was necessary in order to keep her wings. To this day, Donna continues to hold tight to her wings; and both Life Guard and those around her are better for it.
Donna has an unmatched commitment to excellence in all her pursuits. She has a high level of resourcefulness, perseverance; but most of all she is a motivator. She knows how to share her dreams. This is one of Donna’s strengths. Most people hold their dreams close, refusing to share for fear they might lose them. Donna does not. Donna shares her dreams with those she loves and cares for. And in return, her dream becomes their dream. She works hard to make the
dream real for everyone she shares it with; her family, her friends, and her employees.
She exemplifies this with the way she manages her life and the way she manages Life Guard. For example, she brought her mother here from Romania; and her father. They have since also become American citizens. Her brother has also smallest decision. She builds consensus and through consensus builds loyalty. Talk to Donna’s employees and Life Guard is their business; the success of Life Guard becomes their success.
This is especially true of the women of Life Guard. The Management team of Life Guard consists solely of women. Furthermore, women also make up 63 % of Life Guard’s employees. By empowering these women, she knows that they will empower others.
Donna Miller is one of two woman Presidents of a CAMTS certified air ambulance company in America. She knows how hard it is for women to be taken seriously in a male dominated field.
Donna is also now the proud mother of a Willamette University student who believes she can do whatever she’ll put her mind to it. (And she does!).
She shares her dreams with her family. She shared her dream with me; and convinced me that it was possible. So I pushed her toward reorganizing Life Guard; and I continue to support her dream. I will tell anybody who will listen, including Donna, that “We are so much better together than we could ever be apart.” That is the dream she made real for me.
Donna also shares her dream with the community. She was directly involved in the Southern Nevada Health District – 2010 EMS Regulations Workshops, in order to make air ambulances safer.
Donna is also a member of the Women’s Chamber of Commerce, so she can benefit from those who share her dream of business ownership, and to benefit others.
She educates medical and insurance professionals in NV and other adjacent states in the differences between a company that cares about their patients, like Life Guard; and companies that care only for the patient’s wallet.
Donna shares her dream of providing better care to rural Nevadans. She has opened a base in Tonopah and a base in Reno in order to make quality healthcare available to all Nevadans who do not happen to live close by advanced care facilities.
And she shares her dream with the Romanian community by being active in her church and assisting those, like her, who have dreams of making a better life for themselves and their families. As an example, Donna was contacted by a Romanian national who lives in Canada and whose father had suffered a stroke while visiting. She desperately wanted to transport her father back to Romania so he could recover with the care of family and friends. She learned about Donna through the internet. A transport like this normally costs over $100,000.00. This woman could not afford this amount and Donna could not do the transport for free. However, after speaking with Donna, the woman was able to raise $30,000.00 through charitable donations and her own hard work. Donna was inspired by her efforts, and volunteered Life Guard’s resources. She worked hard to reduce the costs in every other possible way. And together, they were able to make the transport happen. “Where there’s a will there’s a way.”
And she shares her dream of better health care with the world. She has collected drugs that she and other medical providers cannot use because they have expired. However, these drugs are still effective. Rather than dispose of these drugs, she has collected these drugs for use by third world countries whose residents could not otherwise get access to them.