74-year-old weightlifter could use a helping hand

By Anna Yee

August 5, 2012 Updated Aug 6, 2012 at 8:46 AM CDT

WASHINGTON, Ill. -- Numbers may mean a lot when lifting weights but not when it comes to age.

Meet Ron Millard, a 74- going on 75- year old weightlifter.

The Washington native first started pumping iron some 50 years ago.

"I wasn't tall enough to play basketball," said Millard. "I wasn't big enough to play football, so I looked for another sport. I discovered this, and I was pretty good at it, so I stayed with it."

With a couple of long-term breaks along the way, Millard has racked up plenty of awards, including two for winning the national masters weightlifting championships.

Now he wants to raise the bar.

"My first goal is to win a world championship," said Millard. "Second goal is to at least medal in world championship. Third goal is to continue to compete at a high level, no matter what my age group as it goes up."

"You worry about the injuries," said Norma Millard, Ron's wife, "but it's something that he loves and he enjoys, and it gives him a feeling of being worthwhile. His whole family is behind him in this."

And, it seems like his whole town is behind him.

The Vice President of Five Points Washington's Board of Directors started a collection to get Millard to the world masters next month in Ukraine.

"It just struck me that we do so much for athletics in this region, in terms of sponsoring teams and highlighting high school and little league teams," said Brown. "Wouldn't it be neat to put some of that energy behind the accomplishment of a senior citizen?"

Millard is shooting to break his best record of lifting a combined total of 137 kilos, or 302 pounds.

He says if he can't raise enough money to go to the world championships this year, he'll have to wait until he's 76.

If you would like to help, checks can be made out to "Partner with the Champ" and presented at South Side Bank in Washington, and other locations.

You can also contact Steve Brown, the Vice President of Five Points Washington Board of Directors, at (309) 444-8796.