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Autism Awareness & Acceptance: Spotlight on USS Midway Team Member BG Miller

BG Miller, who has autism and is a client with Toward Maximum Independence (TMI), has certainly made a name for himself working on the USS Midway Museum since 2016 with the support of his former TMI Job Coach Andy Palasciano for six years followed by his current Job Coach Carol Atherton. BG (aka "Beege") is a nickname and something BG recently adopted, although people have called him that over the years, and he seems very taken with it — he refers to it as his "call sign". BG was recently featured in the Midway’s Team Member Spotlight where he shared a bit about himself to shine the light on autism awareness and acceptance.


Department: Engineering (formerly was with the Events Department)

How long have you been with the Midway? Since February of 2016, with a break for about a year during the first part of COVID.

What kind of music do you like? Rock and roll, rock-pop, country, plus kid songs from the past.

What is the best movie that you like? It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World (1963)—it's a crazy comedy laugh fest. I like comedy movies best.

What are you grateful for? Family and friends, old and new, who are kind to people with autism. People and companies who recycle. Living in San Diego with nice people, weather, and places to enjoy my interests.

(BG is a wonderful USS Midway representative at the annual San Diego Veteran's Day Parade - click arrow to watch the video)

What did you do before you came to the Midway? I lived in Washington state, but I always knew I would move back to San Diego (where I was born), and work at the Midway. I do miss my family and friends in Washington though.

BG volunteering at the La Mesa Train Depot on St. Patrick's Day
BG volunteering at the La Mesa Train Depot on St. Patrick's Day

Were you in the military, and if so, which branch? What did you do? I wasn't in the military, but both my grandpas were in the Navy. They both served in WWII, and my dad's dad was in the Navy until he retired. He was a Navy chief and worked with aircraft. My mom's dad was a medic and worked at Balboa Hospital. My dad's dad, Chester Miller, served briefly on the Midway, and his picture is on the wall of the Midway's hangar deck. Any hobbies that you'd like to tell us about? I love old trains and airplanes, life-size and models. I also enjoy going to the San Diego Zoo, where I'm a volunteer, and the Safari Park. I especially enjoy the cheetahs and other African animals. In the spring and summer, I love watching the ducklings at the Zoo. Beach volleyball and track are the top two sports for me. I like going to airplane and train shows/conventions all over the USA. Recycling is my passion!

We love that, BG! Thanks for sharing!


Autism Awareness and Acceptance at the Midway (a letter to Midway employees from BG)

BG enjoying a day at the beach
BG enjoying a day at the beach

Dear USS Midway Museum Employees and Volunteers:

Thank you so much for the great gift at the Engineering Department Holiday Party. Let's keep it going every year! I love your enthusiasm!

I really appreciate your understanding and kindness, especially if I am having a difficult day. Changes are often very tough for people with autism. For example, when it rains and floods in San Diego, it's very frustrating and scary for me, because I'm used to San Diego having sunny weather. So, sometimes it makes me very anxious, and I might say things that other people might not understand or might make them feel uncomfortable. But it's just because I'm anxious or afraid, and don't realize that people don't understand or are uncomfortable with what I'm saying. That happens a lot to people with autism.

People with autism also often have their own ideas of how things ought to be. So, when other people have different ideas, it can be tough for people with autism to understand and follow a different way. For example, some things that I like a lot or some things that I really worry about, I can't get out of my head.

BG having fun with some furry friends!
BG having fun with some furry friends!
People with autism have brains that work a little differently from other people's brains. But, like everyone else, they want to be appreciated and accepted for who they are. It helps to be part of a supportive team.

Thank you for your patience when I have a tough day. I first started working at the Midway in February of 2016, and I am so lucky to still be working on the Midway today!

If you have any questions about autism, please let my TMI Job Coach Carol know. She can pass questions and comments along to my parents.

Some things I'm looking forward to this year are the Padres Fan Fest, Spring Break and Spring Training, and model airplane and train swap meets and beach volleyball most of the year!

Thanks again. You are all special in my heart.


(Editor's Note: This spotlight first appeared in the USS Midway employee newsletter. Thank you to the Midway for partnering with us!)


BG at work on the Midway
BG at work on the Midway

It is the mission of the Toward Maximum Independence (TMI) Supported Employment program to support, enhance and educate the general workforce population on the contributing value of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Through personalized integration, training and advocacy, TMI helps to develop the capabilities and strengths of all people desiring to work.

Supported Employment provides job coaching services at a 1:1 coach to client ratio for individual placements and 1:3 for group placements.

Our mission drives our work to ensure that all people have the right to attain dignity and self-respect in the employment sector.

(Please share in honor of World Autism Awareness Day on April 2 and Autism Awareness and Acceptance Month all of April. We thank you advance for helping to create a better world for those we support!)


Toward Maximum Independence (TMI) has been transforming the lives of children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities since 1981 and the Deaf and Hard of Hearing since 2000. In 2020, we launched Disabled Veteran Employment Services. TMI strives to help our clients to realize their hopes and dreams by providing Employment Solutions, Community Living and Family Support Services throughout San Diego, Riverside and Imperial Counties. To stay connected with us, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram. Together we can share acceptance and awareness, ultimately contributing to further inclusion.


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