Like any construction subcontractor, Miles Taylor, territory sales manager for the Garland Company, has encountered his share of obstacles and unexpected issues. He and his partner, Casey Sheahan, have worked on more than 50 major roofing projects in the Long Beach Unified School district during the past six years.
But work challenges pale in comparison to the personal trials that the 33-year old Sacramento native has overcome. Miles's wife, Emily, is a survivor of stage four lung cancer, a diagnosis she received in 2012 when she was only 28 years old. The original prognosis was dire, but they managed to beat the odds.
"Even during the toughest days for them, Miles never let any balls drop on critical dates and deliveries for our roofing projects at our new schools," said Les Leahy, director of Facilities and Maintenance for LBUSD.
Emily, now healthy and cancer free, says she could never have traveled this remarkable and difficult journey without her devoted husband at her side every step of the way.
In a February, 2016 entry in her award-winning blog, she writes, "I owe the past three cancer-free years to my loving husband. He scoffs when I say this, as if his role has been 'minimal' simply because I was the one getting poked and prodded and poisoned.
"But his role was anything but minimal. He found the surgeon who would operate on me when no one else would, giving me the cure we desperately desired. When radiation knocked me for a loop and I couldn’t get off the couch for months on end, he nursed me back to health, cheering me on as I took each small step toward recovery.
"Miles decided, each day, to take some part of the burden off my shoulders. He never gave up hope, even when the odds were so stacked against me."
Now four years cancer free, Emily celebrated her two year NED (No Evidence of Disease) anniversary by participating in a 5K run in San Dimas, a fundraiser for the Addario Lung Cancer Foundation, where she now works as a patient advocate.
Emily has become a spokesperson for young cancer patients, including addressing thousands of doctors at a national Lung Cancer Association conference, and being featured in major media outlets like People magazine, CNN and ESPN.
Beyond "kicking cancer," the Taylors say their biggest joy has been their twin daughters, carried by a surrogate and born in April 2016, more than four years after Miles and Emily had nine embryos frozen just prior to her beginning chemotherapy.
In December of 2016, the family of four marked another milestone. They moved from Woodland Hills to their new home in Long Beach. Miles continues to serve as territory manager for the Garland Company, a Cleveland-based company where he has worked for ten years.
Miles says he is grateful for the care and support he received from colleagues at LBUSD.
"The people in Long Beach are terrific and we love this community," he said. "We chose to live in Long Beach because of that sense of community and because of the quality of the schools here."
Education is a high priority for Miles and Emily, who met as undergraduates at Claremont McKenna College in Pomona. They both went on to earn MBAs at the Claremont Graduate University, and while Miles joined Garland, Emily was working in finance at Western Asset Management before her cancer diagnosis cut her career short.
Today, the pair is managing to juggle work and family, and thrilled to be living a "normal life" in Long Beach.