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Maj. Miller returning to Western New York for veterans benefit

It has been four years since Maj. Patrick W. Miller was injured in a mass shooting at Fort Hood, Texas, and as horrible as that day was, it has given the Allegany native and Iraq War veteran more resolve to give back to the community.

He had mini-fundraisers before the annual Allegany Home Week for two years after he was shot, and last year, he and his friends and family took a leap to sponsor a benefit country concert. The successful venture raised more than $23,000 for Fisher House and Homes for Our Troops last year.

This summer he's hoping for a bigger response, with national touring country artist Dylan Scott headlining the show July 21. Eric van Houten and Maggie Baugh also will perform. Tickets are available on Ticketfly.com and at various stores and restaurants in Olean and Allegany.

"The whole point of why we're doing it is to support, to raise both money and awareness, for wounded warriors and disabled veterans. That’s the entire purpose and intent of everything we do, and every decision that is made," Miller said. "After the Fort Hood shooting, I've been given an opportunity or platform, to some extent, to pull in resources."

Miller was awarded the Soldier’s Medal, the Army’s highest noncombat honor for valor, for his actions at Fort Hood on April 2, 2014, that saved the lives of fellow soldiers, even after he was critically wounded. While he was in the hospital in Texas, his family was able to stay at Fisher House, which offers free lodging to the families of military members and veterans who are undergoing treatment, one of the recipients of the benefit. The other organization, Homes for our Troops, adapts custom homes for injured post 9-11 veterans.

After recovering, Miller graduated from the Command and General Staff College and he and his wife, Ashley, went to Honolulu, Hawaii, where he served as chief financial officer at Tripler Army Medical Center. Their daughter, Harper, was born in Hawaii nearly two years ago.

Miller is returning to New York State for his next stint at Fort Drum, where he will be deputy commander for administration. He and Ashley met when he was attending a master's program at Syracuse University, and they married while he was stationed at Fort Drum the first time.

When he got word he would be moving back to New York, one of the first things he did was buy season tickets for the Buffalo Bills. An avid Buffalo sports fan, he hasn't been to a Bills game since 2014.

"I'm excited to go home. We haven’t been home in a year," Miller said. "You kind of take it for granted while you're there and you miss it more while you're gone."

Cherishing a second chance at life

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