Student Death Inspires Community to Help Local Charities

August 11, 2011 Updated Aug 11, 2011 at 8:14 PM EDT

By Ed Reilly

August 11, 2011 Updated Aug 11, 2011 at 8:14 PM EDT

(Lewiston, NY) Jonathan Miller was a popular football player and senior student at Lewiston Porter High School in Youngstown, NY.

In the locker room, his coach said he was the "glue" that helped keep the team together.

Off the field, he was a friend to many underclassmen.

And since his patron saint is St. Vincent DePaul, Jonathan dedicated himself to helping the poor by serving in soup kitchens and delivering food baskets.

But on November 15, 2009, his family and community were devastated to learn that the 17-year old had died after a medical condition caused him to crash his SUV into a tree.

Students at Lewiston Porter High School painted his nick-name "J Mill" outside the school's bookstore.

His football jersey number "76" was retired and the senior lounge renamed in his honor.

When Jonathan's parents created a scholarship and a fund for charities, the surrounding community embraced it whole-heartedly.

Last year, the "J Mill Giving Fund" raised $10,000.

This year organizers are hoping to increase that amount through a charity golf tournament and dinner scheduled for Monday at the Niagara Frontier Country Club.

Many organizations have donated to this years fund raising efforts including Niagara University, The Buffalo Sabres Alumni, The Orange Cat Coffee Company, and the Brickyard Pub & BBQ.

The story of Jonathan Miller has touched many people because before he died, he gave his mother a special engraved rock from the Fatima Shrine in Youngstown, NY that read, "Live by Faith One Day at a Time."

His parents, Kevin and Jeannine, tell Eyewitness News that they don't know how to thank everyone for their generosity.

Knowing that their son inspires many people, they proudly add, "It is not how long you live but the life you live that matters."