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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Peace Corps volunteer in Cambodia orders hearts for his family in Loveland

Evan Miller views Reporter-Herald website weekly
By Jessica Benes Reporter-Herald Staff Writer

Evan Miller, 25, visits the Reporter-Herald website every week to remind himself of home. When he saw the notice about ordering painted hearts for Valentine's Day, he ordered two as a surprise for his family.

From Cambodia.

Miller is a Peace Corps volunteer serving as a community health extension agent in Cambodia. His job is to provide health education and awareness to hospitals, schools, marketplaces and pagodas.

The hearts say "Evan M loves his family" and "Peace Corps Cambodia."

He feels blessed that he has a great support system at home in his family and wanted to show his gratitude and love in a special way.

He didn't tell his family that he had ordered the hearts. Instead, he emailed several consecutive riddles a few days before the hearts were scheduled to be posted and his family had to figure outthe surprise.

Miller requested that the hearts be posted near Anthology Book Co. on Fourth Street, because of how much time he spent there.

He said his family includes his grandmother, Mary Louise Krieger; father, John; mother, Moofie; and sister, Ivy, who all live in Loveland. It also extends to his childhood friend Nick Stahlin and the community at Anthology Book Co.

"I think the hearts were real thoughtful, although a little unexpected," laughed his grandmother. "I'm going to have to take a drive down there."

His mother said, "We are very proud of a kid who could remember us from that far away. It pretty much knocked our socks off."

Miller said that sweethearts take on a completely different significance in Cambodia. Marriages are still sometimes arranged and the wives are bought with a bride price.

Dating before age 18 is awkward as public affection is discouraged. The wedding ceremonies are wild and brightly-colored with meals and bottomless rice wine.

"I miss autumn in Colorado when the air is cool and fresh, the aspen trees turn their deep golden color and the mountains receive the first light dusting of snow," Miller said in an email. "However, the Cambodian countryside has left a lasting impression on my heart. I won't soon forget the white cranes in florescent green rice fields before harvest season or the slow, picturesque sunsets."

He is scheduled to return October 2013.

Jessica Benes can be reached at 669-5050, ext. 530, or

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