Monday, September 11, 2006

Charles M. Mills

It’s just a name to millions of people…

…but to some, it is the name of a loved one that passed through their life, and since that time, has passed on.

Charles M. Mills...

A son, a brother, a husband, a father, an uncle, a grandfather, a great grandfather, a friend, a mentor, a leader, an employer, an employee…

I don’t know the roles Charles might have fulfilled during his 61 years walking this world, but I do know he influenced the lives of others during that time—and it’s to those whom Mr. Mills touched their life in one way or another that I offer my deepest of sympathies…

On September 11, 2001, Charles M. Mills became one of the 2,996 victims in what is now known to be the worst ever terrorist attack on the United States. Mr. Mills was from Brentwood, New York, and had been in, or at, the World Trade Center buildings the morning of the attacks.

Having served many years in the police force fulfilling one duty after another, at the time of the attacks, Charles M. Mills was serving as the director of the Petroleum, Alcohol and Tobacco Bureau, New York State Department of Taxation and Finance, located in the twin towers.

It has been said that “Charlie was lost while supervising the evacuation of employees from the World Trade Center.”

Charles M. Mills—a servant putting his life on the line day after day. I honor Charles for his duties of the past and I end with sharing the words of those who knew him personally…

Charles Mills, "Sonny" to me, was my cousin. It had been many years since I had seen him, but I loved him. He is missed by all who love him.
Karen Paulus 07/18/2002 1:50:04 PM

We will never forget what Charlie did for our City of Troy NY. He was a powerful influence, well respected, and will be terribly missed.
John J.Treski 09/11/2004 9:56:16 PM

Long before 9-11-01, before he worked for the NYS Dept of Taxation & Finance, before he was Police Commissioner of Schenectady, Chief of Police in Troy, and Director of Campus Police at SUNY-Albany, the Twin Towers and NYC I knew Charles Mills. When I first met Charlie, I was a rookie Transit cop, not very long out of the NYC Transit PD Academy (where a classmate was Charlie's brother, John.) Working that 4 x 12 shift out of District 33 (East New York) I was assigned to an RMP, and designated as the driver for the duty Captain. Now, having grown up in Rockaway Beach, NY, and not having need of a car, I had no driver's license, until I had to get one for the Transit Police job. Which meant, of course, that I was in no way familiar with the highways and by-ways of New York City, nor was I all that comfortable behind the wheel of a powerful un-marked police vehicle. After I managed to find my way to downtown Brooklyn, I picked up Captain Mills at NYC Transit Authority HQs on Jay Street. I explained my "newness" to the duty captain, and he calmed my nerves by telling me that it was okay, he knew where everything was we needed to see. He then proceeded to direct me to a restaurant in Brooklyn Heights, where we dined like gentlemen, and the Cap' picked up the tab. After eating our dinner, we began to ride around the city, to visit commands and whatever else the duty Captain has to do. When we overheard a radio call for an injured officer, the Captain directed me to proceed to that location post-haste. As you can imagine, it took me less that 2 minutes to get totally lost. I quickly stopped to ask directions, then proceeded on, only to slam on the brakes when the Captain calmly asked "Do you always sail right through red lights?". After he peeled his face off the windshield, and regained his seat, Captain Mills nonchalantly said to me "Officer, you have to know this - if you hurt me, MY WIFE WILL GET YOU!". The remainder of the tour was uneventful. But neither of us ever forgot that ride. (Charlie reminded me of it every time I ran into him for the next nine years). I left the Transit PD in 1982, moving over to the Nassau County PD. By then, Charlie was a Deputy Chief. And I had been hearing that accolade reserved for the best of us, "He is/was a good cop" and "He is a good boss". I heard he retired shortly thereafter, and moved north, as I later discovered, to make more law enforcement history in Albany, Troy, and Schenectady. Although I never really missed the Transit PD (took 6 months to get the steel dust out of my sinuses) I did miss the guys, and Charlie will always be one of those. If I ever get through the pearly gates, boss, I'll be honored to drive your chariot.
Chris McKeon 02/09/2006 5:27:43 AM

Charlie -- an intensely joyful man with startlingly piercing blue eyes -- had a very distinguished career as a cop. He is most fondly remembered for his service as Police Commissioner for the City of Schenectady where he realized his lifelong dream of commanding a police agency. Charlie threw himself into the life of that comunity. He was famous for going about incognito after hours as the legendary Caliph of Baghdad once did to take the pulse of his community. I am very proud of him, his service and his sacrifice. I wrote the following poem about him and shared it with many of his friends.

Schenectady had woes and ills.

And so, we hired Charlie Mills.
When Charlie took the town's commission,
He swore improvement as his mission.

He went to work at breakneck pace
To make an impact on the place.
No iv'ry tower for this Commish.
He cut his bait and caught his fish.

He lasted but a brief few years;
But left with our regrets and tears.
Yes, o, this town did Charlie touch
And that is why we love him much.

Was there a time when Charlie quailed?
When of our trust that Charlie failed?
Never happened. There's no way
That he'd not rush to save the day.

In times of old did al-Rashid
Concerned with all his people's need
Go forth at night in beggars' clothes
To learn first hand the people's woes.

Thus did Charlie pound a beat
Like any patrolman on the street.
Thus did Charlie win our hearts:
Community cop -- was Charlie's art.

From far away beyond our town
Someone sought to strike him down
And take from us our faithful friend
Who with such heart did us defend.

They tried by such horrific crime
To set a-back the hands of time.
However they might hurt us much
There's something that they cannot touch.

For everywhere that cops walk beats
There's some of Charlie on those streets.
You cannot keep a good man down
And still he watches o'er our town.

Behold our man from flames arise.
Behold our Charlie's ice blue eyes.
Towering tall above Ground ZeroS
tands Charlie Mills, American Hero.

~Terry O'Neill

Charlie was a "cops cop". I worked for him when we were in the transit police in the 1970's. We became friends when I became a police chief and Charlie was police commissioner in Schenectady N.Y. Our paths always seemed to cross. We had dinner together many times at police functions, the last being in San Diego at the international police chiefs assc. Our paths crossed again when I retired and took a job on John St. My office looked out onto the twin towers and I could see Charlies building clearly. On 9/11 our paths crossed for the final time in this life. As I watched with horror the second plane hit the towers I prayed he or anyone else I knew was not there. I did not find out till later that he was indeed there in his office. I have since moved to Florida and became a cop again. The last I had heard was that he was never found. I believe Charlie is with God and wearing God's police uniform, still protecting as he always did in life. If I ever get there I hope we can patrol together again.Love your friend,Mike
*** Posted by Michael Clinch on 2004-02-24 ***

Blessings upon Charles’ family and friends during this time of remembrance and the days to come.

[I obtained the above references to Charles by his loved ones from the following websites: here, here, and here.]


brian said...

Thank you so much for writing this tribute and posting all the letters to him from those who knew him. I love the poem that was written for him. Beautiful job.

Please stop by my tribute to Gilbert and leave a lnik and comment so that others can come here to read.

Nicole Ashley said...

Very nice tribute! I've been reading a bunch of these since last night and each and every one has an equally powerful impact on me. I'm glad that bloggers have come together in such a special way to remember.