BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — One year after a fellow soldier triggered a blood bath at Fort Hood, Texas, Major Patrick Miller, a western New York native is getting on with his life and remembering the day it almost ended.
Major Miller says he thinks about the shooting every day, “Family, friends, you take nothing for granted and live each day like it’s your last,” he said.
It was the end of the workday at Fort Hood, April 2, 2014, when several shots outside his office brought everyone to a standstill. Major Miller went into the hallway and saw a soldier running toward him. Miller thought the man was seeking safety.
“He’s running and he gets right here where I’m kind of halfway out the door and bang! He shoots me in the stomach with a .45,” he said.
With adrenaline pumping, Major Miller says he pushed the gunman as hard as he could, shut and locked the door, started calling 911, and shepherded several co-workers into his interior office, locking that door. At a tense Fort Hood, it would be another 45 minutes before it was safe to get an ambulance to Miller.
“About 20 to 25 minutes into it I’m thinking, what a crappy way to go,” Miller said, noting that the situation soon changed. “I vividly remember saying, you know, I’m not coughing up or spitting up blood. I can control my breathing, I’m cognizant of the situation. I’m going to live.”
It took two major surgeries and two weeks in ICU before it was clear Major Miller would live and would be recognized as an America hero by the President and by his hometown of Allegany in Cattaraugus County thatembraced him with pride and a patriotic parade in his honor last July.
In September, the Bills invited him on the field for an opening day salute. A real thrill for a young man who grew up as a season ticket holder.
Last month, the Sabres put him in the booth with legendary announcer Rick Jeanneret.
It’s been an amazing year for this career officer now studying at Command and General Staff College at For Leavenworth, Kansas, before accepting a 3 year assignment at a medical center in Hawaii.
Four people died that day at Fort Hood including the gunman, Specialist Ivan Lopez, who killed himself. Sixteen people were wounded including Major Patrick Miller who responded with bravery and heroism.
“I’m happy that (co-workers) are okay and I’m at peace with everything that happened that day,” says Major Miller.
He says he now lives each day with gratitude.
“You know at one point I thought I was going to die that day so it’s tenfold as far as appreciating the life, this life, and everything in it. It’s so cliche, but it’s so true: I want to do everything I can to make a difference,” he said.
Major Miller says it never crossed his mind to end his career in the Army after he was shot. He has already served twelve years including two deployments and says he has every intention of continuing to serve and protect this country.
Copyright WIVB 2015