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UIW Supports Our Troops

Operation Iraqi Freedom hit close to home for several members of the Incarnate Word community. As loved ones were deployed with the coalition forces, anxious friends and family were left behind to wait for any tidbit of news, good or bad. Many in the UIW community supported those who were called away by lighting candles attached with their pictures and tying yellow ribbons with their names around the trees throughout the campus, praying for their safe return home.

However, for one family, that of Army Private First Class Anthony Scott Miller, the wait turned into a heartbreaking experience. In early April, Pfc. Miller became the first soldier from San Antonio to be killed in action during the conflict. The UIW community learned of the tragedy because Pfc. Miller’s older brother, Patrick, is a sophomore at the University. In a display of unity, support and respect for Patrick’s brother, University officials decided that something special needed to be done to commemorate Pfc. Miller. Planting a tree would signify a continuing of life, and would serve as a daily reminder of Pfc. Miller’s sacrifice to all who walk by the tree in the years to come.

On April 10, an oak tree was planted outside the Gorman Business and Education Center, where Patrick currently takes the majority of his classes as a business major. The younger Miller had also been considering pursuing a business degree after completing his military service.

Pfc. Miller, a 19-year-old graduate of John Jay High School, left behind memories of love and laughter, which were shared with the UIW community by his father, Patrick Miller, Sr., at the tree-planting ceremony.

Patrick Miller Jr. reads the inscription on the bronze plaque in front of the oak tree planted in memory of his brother.

“This great oak tree serves as a representation of the great strength that Scottie had,” said Mr. Miller at the ceremony, which was attended by over 100 people, including many family members and friends. Mr. Miller added that Scottie, as his family knew him, said in his final letter home that he was at peace with himself because he had found God.

The University also decided to do something for Patrick Jr., a bright, 25-year-old student whose charm, punctuality and determination have won the hearts of his classmates, teachers, and supervisors alike (he is a work-study student in the UIW business office). To reward his meritorious scholastic achievement, the University awarded Patrick Jr. an endowed scholarship named after his brother, the Pfc. Anthony Scott Miller Scholarship, at a surprise ceremony on June 13.

“ It was a pleasant surprise and I’m thankful for the university’s decision to honor me in such a way and to honor my brother for what he has done for the country and our coummunity,” said Patrick Jr.