We knew Gary Miller back when he was a patrolman in the Grandview Police Department at the beginning of his law enforcement career. An Eagle Scout himself, he was a volunteer with our Cub Scout Pack.
He went on to a career in the State Patrol. Whenever I saw a patrol car pass, I always gave a glance to see if it was Gary.
His wife Ann worked in the Emergency Dispatch Center. It was she who calmly called in the 911 call about the fire. Though I never met Ann, I knew her parents.
Trooper Kristopher Sperry was staying with the Millers until he could move into his new home this week.
A memorial for the three was held in the Yakima Sundome today. About 2000 people attended. Many more lined the streets or gathered on overpasses along I-82 as a procession of 213 police and fire vehicles made its way to the services.
We joined a group on the Outlook overpass that included several Fire and Rescue employees, some others who knew Gary, and 90½ year old (he included that "one half" specifically the several times he mentioned his age) Alvin Hufnail, who told us he was the first person Miller met in Grandview. Hufnail says a hungry Miller came into the grocery he was working in for some purchases and they later became fast friends.
He had carefully fastened his American and Washington flags to a long bamboo pole to display on the overpass.
Near the staging area, Sunnyside jail trustees gave a spruce up to patrol cars that had come a distance for the procession. Officers from as far as Montana participated in the procession, while some Canadian officers also attended the memorial.The highway lane was closed to other traffic to clear the way.
It took about twenty miinutes before the last of the procession passed.
I'm not sure, but I think this fly-over was a WSP aircraft--"the eye in the sky".
And all covered by the local TV reporter.
Gary Miller, Ann Miller-Hewitt, Kristopher Sperry
May you rest in peace.