College of DuPage officials will hold a ceremony at 2 p.m. Thursday to officially name the Homeland Security Education Center on the Glen Ellyn campus after U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Robert Miller, a Wheaton native killed in Afghanistan nearly a decade ago.
It's a fitting tribute to the Medal of Honor recipient in a building that houses programs for students preparing for civil service and defense jobs, said Bobby Kaye, a close friend of Miller and fellow Wheaton North High School grad.
The Army veteran from St. Charles helped design a new "focal point" in the center's common area with a timeline profiling Miller's youth and military service.
"He was always looking for a new challenge," Kaye said.
Miller rose to the challenge in a battle with insurgents, who far outnumbered his team of Special Forces and Afghan troops in a valley near the Afghanistan-Pakistan border early Jan. 25, 2008.
His patrol fell under heavy fire, but Miller, who learned the native language of Pashto, still pushed forward, radioing information about the enemy's location and drawing their fire away from soldiers.
Miller was shot in his torso but continued fighting until the 24-year-old was mortally wounded. The rest of the team -- seven soldiers and 15 Afghan troops -- survived.
President Barack Obama posthumously presented Miller's Medal of Honor -- the country's highest military award -- to his parents in October 2010.
Maureen and Phil Miller will join Kaye at the COD ceremony on the west side of the Homeland Security Education Center.
"It's a way of remembering," Kaye said. "His name will never go forgotten."
The Millers, who moved to Florida 14 years ago, also will serve as grand marshals of the Wheaton Fourth of July parade that steps off at 10 a.m. Tuesday near Main Street and Hawthorne Boulevard.