FORT DRUM, N.Y. (WWNY) - From Iron Major to lieutenant colonel.
“It’s surreal, it’s humbling, it’s one of those things you think about and you dream about.”
A dream to move up in rank that, just a few years ago, now Lieutenant Colonel Patrick Miller thought was never going to happen.
“I ended up getting shot and almost died.”
Then brigade comptroller for the 1st Medical Brigade at Fort Hood in Texas, Miller found himself face to face with a gunman, who shot him and more than a dozen other people in the mass shooting at the fort in 2014.
Miller saved more from being shot by shoving the gunman and directing people into his office and locking the door. Four people, including the shooter, died that day.
“Thinking about when you’re that close to not being here, when you’re that close to death quiet frankly, and then not only to recover and continue to serve, but look at my family and my daughter who wasn’t there during all of that, but not only to have survived but to move on and to give back,” said Miller.
His family now gives back by raising money for wounded warriors and disabled veterans.
“I’m very very appreciative and grateful,” he said.
Miller also says he is grateful for the friends and family who traveled miles to be here, and the family he has in the Fort Drum community. But more than anything, he’s grateful for his wife, Ashley.
“She’s the unsung hero. She’s stronger than I’ll ever be and my version of what happened at Fort Hood. She’s got her own version of how she found out and what she had to go through. She’s fantastic. She’s the better half for sure.”
And his daughter, Harper.
“We spent three years in Hawaii and during our time in Hawaii we had the best thing that ever happened to us and she’s bent over in that chair about to turn 3 next month,” HE SAID.
Miller served at Fort Drum in 2011.
He will be be in the north country for the next year working as the deputy commander for administration for the U.S. Army Medical Department Activity at Fort Drum.