YOUNGSTOWN AIR RESERVE STATION, Ohio --
It is an early winter morning as an Ohio State Highway Patrolman makes his rounds on I-90 in Ashtabula, Ohio, and the surrounding area. A polar vortex had stormed its way through the northern Ohio community making conditions harsh and roadways hazardous. The clock on his cruiser’s dashboard nears 4 a.m. as he spots a car parked under a bridge on the other side of the highway. Though the lights are off and the cabin of the vehicle appears dark and uninhabited, he decides to turn his cruiser around and check out the scene. Thoughts bubble in his mind.
“What if someone’s inside? What if they need help? What if…?”
As he pulls up to the vehicle, he notices that although the lights are indeed off, the engine continues to hum. As the trooper inspects the abandoned car further, he spots a set of footprints beginning at the driver’s door, leading up the exit ramp and then disappearing into the three-lane-wide highway.
“Who would leave their car here running at this time of night? A drunk driver? Maybe they came to their senses and called for a ride?” the trooper thinks to himself as he waits for the opportunity to cross the still-busy highway.
After cautiously crossing the three lanes of traffic, the trooper picks up the trail again and quickly spots their maker. It is an elderly woman, face down in the snow. He calls dispatch for paramedics before rushing to her side to perform first aid. Although her clothes are frozen and her core temperature is low, she is alive.
The woman survived because of the actions of one individual who took the time to go the extra mile.
That individual is Staff Sgt. Brandon Miller, a Heating, Ventilation, Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration technician at the 910th Civil Engineer Squadron at YARS and Ohio State Highway Patrolman at the Ashtabula post in Ohio. Due to his willingness to go the extra mile while on patrol, leadership abilities, professional ethics, courteous treatment of others and enthusiastic attitude, Miller was named the 2019 Ohio State Highway Patrolman of the Year first for the Ashtabula Post and then for the Warren District.
OSHP Sgt. Larry Jones said Miller is a leader among his peers.
“Brandon is a hard worker dedicated to the citizens of Ohio, and he’s very committed in all his actions,” Jones said. “He’s a great example of what it means to be a state trooper.”
Although Miller said he didn’t expect to be chosen, it came as no surprise to Miller’s wingmen at the 910th Airlift Wing when they found out about his selection as Patrolman of the Year.
“Miller is all go, all the time,” said Tech. Sgt. Scott Trivett, the NCOIC of the HVAC shop for 910th CES. When he’s on the clock he’s nothing but work. I wish I had his work ethic. It’s impeccable, and it makes my job easy as his supervisor.”
When asked what makes Miller stand out, Trivett said, “His willingness to help others.”
Miller’s first experience with law enforcement began with the United States Air Force in 1998. He enlisted as a security forces specialist for four years, driven to earn the Montgomery G.I. Bill so he could afford to pursue higher education. While enlisted, he was stationed at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, and Robins Air Force Base, Georgia.
In 2000, Miller met his wife, Christina, through a fellow service member, and they were married later that year in November. When his enlistment ended, Miller left active duty to focus on starting a family and took a job at KraftMaid Cabinetry. Eight years and five children later, Miller decided to re-enter law enforcement to better provide for his family during the recession of 2008.
“He’s very family-oriented,” said Trivett. “His wife and kids are his world, and it shows.”
Miller attended the Ohio State Highway Patrol Academy in 2011 and graduated in February 2012 as a part of the 151st Academy class at the age of 32.
“I was the grandpa of the class,” said Miller.
Even though he was the senior member of his class, his four years of experience in active-duty security forces allowed him to ground himself and make the most of his patrolman training.
He then returned to the Air Force as a Reserve Citizen Airman in February of 2016.
“I wanted to make sure I had a good career that was going to help me and help my family,” said Miller. State Troopers have a good, respectful name amongst the people so I fell back on my security forces experiences.”
Miller said the Air Force Reserve adds to the stability for his family through benefits like health insurance and retirement. With every decision, Miller has his family at the forefront of his mind.