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Roseville bus driver burdened with medical fees

Friends, colleagues host fundraiser to help pay off quadruple bypass surgery
By: Sena Christian, The Press Tribune
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Mike Gillman has spent the past three months recuperating from quadruple bypass surgery.

But for the heart-attack survivor and Roseville Transit bus driver that’s not even the hardest part. Gillman, 58, doesn’t have health insurance and racked up medical expenses in the “six digits” that he’s struggling to pay off.

His friends and colleagues decided to host a fundraiser Sunday, July 24, at Royer Park in Roseville. The event is free and proceeds from raffle ticket, food, vendor and game sales benefit Gillman’s medical fund.

“It’s dropping a petal in water and making a little ripple,” said fellow bus driver Bill Mittemiller. “If everyone did that then no one would be hurting.”

Mittemiller met Gillman about a year and a half ago. They become friends after learning of each other’s interest in music. Both play instruments and have a fondness for Christian music. Gillman plays bass in a band that performs at local churches.

“He’s just an all-around good guy,” Mittemiller said.

When he and bus driver Jerry Holden heard about Gillman’s heart attack — and subsequent surgery and bout with pneumonia — they brainstormed ways to help.

“Being his friend and coworker, we tried to see about doing a fundraiser to help with medical bills,” Mittemiller said. “It was a group effort.”

At the event, Bubba’s BBQ, Parker’s Hot Dogs and Carmelita’s Restaurant will sell food. There will be bounce houses, a dunk tank, face painting, raffle prizes and live music from three bands.

“I’m really just speechless that they would do that,” Gillman said. “It’s totally unexpected. It’s amazing.”

Gillman has lived in Roseville since 1976, moving here from Penryn. He has worked for Roseville Transit for about three years.

“It’s a fun job,” he said. “I get to talk with the people, we get to be friends and I get to joke with them.”

He typically drives Route B, which travels through Vernon Street, Cirby Way, Sunrise Avenue, Roseville Parkway, Galleria Boulevard and back around to Atlantic Street. He plans to return to work in about a month as he continues to regain his strength.

“I’m recovering and doing really well,” Gillman said. “I’m doing the walking they want me to do, taking my medication.”

His wife, Adele, was excited and surprised to hear about the upcoming fundraiser.

“I’m blown away by the generosity of these friends,” she said. “We’re really encouraged.”

Deb Wilson, who works as a City of Roseville transit ambassador helping residents navigate the bus system, plans to attend the fundraiser.

“I like the idea of helping someone in our community out, especially with a medical (issue),” Wilson said. “He did not have insurance. I want to help out however we can for someone in the community in need.”

Sena Christian can be reached at senac@goldcountrymedia.com. Follow her on Twitter at SenaC_RsvPT.

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Fundraiser for Roseville Transit driver
When:
Noon to 6 p.m. Sunday, July 24
Where: Royer Park, 190 Park Drive in Roseville
Cost: Free. Donations accepted. Proceeds from food, vendor sales, activities benefit the medical fund.
Info: Food vendors, face painting, live music, bounce house, raffle prizes, dunk tank. To contribute directly to Mike Gillman’s medical fund, visit www.wellsfargo.com, enter routing No. 121042882 and account No. 8379989604.