Robert Miller of Wheaton made the ultimate sacrifice in the war in Afghanistan this year, and now fellow veterans will permanently honor his life by naming a new facility after the local Medal of Honor recipient.
Bob Adams, founder of the Midwest Shelter for Homeless Veterans, announced Sunday that the group's second assisted-living facility in Wheaton will be the Staff Sgt. Robert J. Miller Homeless Shelter for Veterans when it opens this spring.
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Before making the announcement, Adams read President Barack Obama's proclamation that awarded Miller the Medal of Honor posthumously last month. It included a recounting of Miller's action on the day he was killed in 2008, including his charge into enemy fire to provide his team cover fire.
"It sends chills down my spine every time I read that," Adams said at the county's Veterans Day ceremony in Wheaton Sunday. "As a veteran, to understand what it takes to make that sacrifice, it's just an honor and a privilege that the family allowed us to name it after him."
Also on Sunday, a plaque honoring Miller, and a granite sculpture honoring Gold Star Families, which are families that have lost relatives in war, were unveiled at the veterans memorial that sits at the south end of the DuPage County government campus.
The Midwest Shelter for Homeless Veterans named its first facility after Nick Larson, the first Wheaton soldier lost in the war. Adams said he wanted to continue that tradition. Both facilities are on the 100 block of West Street.
The monuments were paid for by the Military Order of the Purple Heart, said DuPage County Board Member Dirk Enger.
Enger, himself a Marine, said the monument to the families would provide a gathering place where they could remember their fallen relatives.
Veterans of Foreign Wars spokesman Ralph Gebes praised the veterans for what they do when they return to their communities, saying most people's lives get touched by a veteran more than they may know.
"Wherever you find a positive force in the community, you will find veterans," he said. "They brought their experience and character-building from the military home with them."