ALLEGANY – Carole Miller told The Buffalo News this afternoon that she has received word from her son, Maj. Patrick W. Miller, that he is doing well and is expected to recover from the wound he suffered Wednesday night at Fort Hood.
“He is doing better. You wouldn’t believe the support we have gotten from the community,” she said outside her home today. “He wants to be up and walking around.”
Maj. Miller was one of 16 soldiers wounded Wednesday by another soldier at Fort Hood, Texas. Three others were killed before the gunman killed himself.
Miller underwent surgery Wednesday night to stabilize his condition, and he had additional surgery today to repair his colon, according to Mike Grader, one of Miller’s best friends in Allegany.
Carole Miller said that she learned of her son’s wound about 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Two of her other children, Kathy and Matt, have gone to Texas to be with their sibling.
Miller was shot in the abdomen, according to friends of the family.
“I heard he was doing better, and it is great news. We’re all wishing him a speedy recovery,” said Mike Wilber, a physical education teacher who coached Miller on the track and football teams at Allegany-Limestone School more than a decade ago.
Others at the school district said they have spoken to Miller’s family, who have offered a positive outlook for the major’s recovery.
And the Associated Press this afternoon reported that a doctor treating the wounded said that even the most severely injured are expected to survive.
At a news conference today at St. Bonaventure University, where Miller graduated ROTC and was commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant in 2003, Lt. Col. Al Zehnder expressed hopes for a full recovery for Miller and the others who were wounded in Wednesday’s shooting.
His message in classes today to the 80 ROTC cadets at the university was to hang in there and not be discouraged from the mission of serving the country.
“This is not the kind of thing we sign up for in a career with the military. This is just like anything else happening at home that is devastating and tragic,” Zehnder said.
The military, he added, has taken special care to improve its response to soldiers who have served overseas by providing mental health services and support and resilience training.
“But 10 years at war is a long time,” he said.
Miller’s mother earlier asked for prayers for her son, who was among 16 wounded at Fort Hood, Texas.
“Please say prayers for my son who was shot at Ft. Hood tonight,” Carole Miller said on Twitter Wednesday night.
Since joining the Army in 2003, Patrick Miller served two tours in Iraq, first as a medical platoon leader, then as a logistics adviser to the Iraqi Army. He has been brigade comptroller at Fort Hood since August.
Paul Brawdy, an associate professor at St. Bonaventure, taught Miller.
“He’s a good guy, a solid, honest guy,” Brawdy said. “You didn’t have to ask twice if you were looking for someone to take a leadership role.”
Brawdy, former chairman of the Physical Education Department, said he has seen Miller through the years since he graduated, and last ran into him about a year ago.
“Our paths crossed in Allegany. It’s a small community down here,” he said. “I think he had recently been promoted to major.”
He said physical education was a good fit for Miller, who played sports in high school. Miller also was in ROTC.
“From the very beginning, it was very clear that was one of his goals,” he said of Miller’s military career.
He was a pleasure to have in class, Brawdy said. As a physical education professor, he sees students inside the classroom and how they react in various outside settings such as athletic fields, canoeing, cross country skiing.
“He wasn’t somebody who faded into the background,” he said of Miller. “I hope everything works out for him.”
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