BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Army Major Patrick Miller is now at his home in Texas recovering from his injuries suffered during the shootings in Fort Hood two weeks ago.
The Cattaraugus County native from the Village of Allegany tells News 4 he still has his hometown in his heart, and that prayers and cards from Western New Yorkers have given him tremendous morale boosts.
“We’re all part of that Western New York community. We have that bond,” he said.
As chaos reigned at Fort Hood, a gunman killing three soldiers and wounding 16 others, Miller never stopped protecting his comrades.
“You do your job and at that moment you don’t have time to think,” he said. “It’s ‘fight or flight,’ and I just wanted to save as many people as I could.”
Having served in Iraq, he was battle trained and battle ready, and without giving it much thought, he moved his fellow soldiers to a secure area, even knowing he had been hit in the stomach.
“I was dialing 911 in one hand, while putting pressure on it [the wound] with the other, running across the room to secure the other side of the office,” he recalled.
President Barack Obama came to the base to comfort families. Miller was unable to leave the hospital, but his wife Ashley and his father-in-law did attend.
Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond Odierno personally went to Miller’s bedside.
“He said he was proud of me and thanked me for me for (the) sacrifice, and what I did.”
But some of the greatest comfort, the Major said, has come from friends and family in Western New York.
“I’m grateful to everybody home for all the thoughts and prayers and well wishes and flowers and cards and everything we’ve received. It’s been phenomenal and it has helped.”
Despite now living in Texas, Miller remains loyal to his hometown. He calls himself a “diehard Bills and Sabres fan” and follows the news stations from home online, daily.
He wants his friends to know he is now on the road to recovery.
“I do need rest. I have to let my body heal internally and externally, as well as mentally,” Miller said.
Though he acted heroically in a time of great turmoil, Miller doesn’t consider himself to be a hero.
“The ones I consider heroes are the ones that never make it home, the folks that never get to return to their families, and really make the ultimate sacrifice. That’s who I’ve always considered heroes,” he said.
Miller hopes to return for a visit to his Cattaraugus County hometown this summer and personally thank all those who have kept him in their hearts.