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President Obama To Acknowledge Allegany Soldier At Ft. Hood Memorial



(WBEN/AP)  As President Obama remembers the soldiers killed in last week's shootings at Fort Hood, he is expected to acknowledge the bravery of Maj. Patrick Miller, a wounded soldier from Western New York,.

During last week's shootings Miller, an Allegany native,  was among the the 16 people wounded during the shooting rampage at Fort Hood in Texas. He was shot in the stomach and  put pressure on his own wound but still kept  moving other soldiers behind a door.

Another soldier, Sgt. First Class Danny Ferguson (pictured R) was killed when his “courageous act of blocking the door with his own body prevented further bloodshed,” said Rep. Roger Williams, R-Texas.

Williams was among the first to speak publicly  of Miller's role in saving other soldiers, calling him  'a very courageous young man," in a briefing last week.

Last week Miller was also visited by Texas Governor Rick Perry and US Sen. Ted Cruz, who both lauded his efforts.   "In the midst of the tragedy we see stories of bravery and courage," Cruz said,adding that Miller " stepped forward to save other soldiers and... prevent other loss of life,"

Army investigators are still piecing together what led to Spc. Ivan Lopez's deadly, eight-minute rampage last week, on the same sprawling post where an Army psychiatrist unloaded on his comrades five years earlier. Lopez shot and killed 3 people before turning the gun on himself.

President Obama is expected to mention Miller in passing, while focusing on those who died. White House spokesman Jay Carney said Obama's speech Wednesday will focus on the victims and their families, not on policy. But there are also some indications the President will  push to address gun use.

AP PhotoThose close to Obama say he sees his role after a tragedy as fulfilling a ministerial function for the nation. Valerie Jarrett, Obama's senior adviser and longtime friend, said although it's painful for Obama, he understands the importance for the president to show leadership, empathy and strength in times of crisis, and for him to spend time with each family member affected. "It's hard because it's deeply personal for him," Jarrett said in an interview. "He identifies as a father, as a husband, as a son, as a family member."

Miller, who lives with his wife (pictured R)  outside Austin, Texas, is a native of Allegany in Cattaraugus County. He is a die-hard Buffalo Sabres fan and was married in a Sabres-themed wedding at First Niagara Center .

Miller, 32, graduated from St. Bonaventure University, in 2003, then joined the Army. He earned masters' degrees in business and public administration from Syracuse University in 2009. Major Miller was deployed to Iraq for the first time in March 2004 for a year. He was then a second lieutenant and the commander of a platoon of medics.

“It’s not a surprise that he is a leader in the military, as he was a captain of the track team and known for stepping up when he was needed,” said Mike Wilber, who coached Major Miller at Allegany-Limestone Central School, where he played football and ran track.

Miller underwent two surgeries in the wake of the shooting and friends at a prayer vigil in his honor in Alllegany said Tuesday evening that he is expected to make a full recovery.

In a statement to WBEN Miller said he "very much appreciated prayers and I can tell you my family and I have received every one," adding that he expects to have more public remarks about his ordeal, next week upon release from Scott-White Hospital in Texas.

His commander, Lt. Gen Mike Milley has said that once the shooting investigation is over, there may be several commendations for those involved. "There were cases of soldier action that clearly indicated heroic action in my view as a commander," Milley said in a news briefing last week.

In the meantime, President Obama is expected to make mention of Miller, Ferguson, a female MP who fired on Lopez, and a Army Chaplain who sheltered others soldiers.

AP PhotoThe last time Obama came to Fort Hood, in the wake of another mass shooting in 2009, he told residents of the central Texas community that the 13 lives they lost would endure, their legacies safeguarded by the nation whose protection they had made their life's work.

"Every evening that the sun sets on a tranquil town, every dawn that a flag is unfurled, every moment that an American enjoys life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness - that is their legacy," Obama said, adopting the role of comforter-in-chief for the first time.


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