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Western New York military hero discusses how he survived a mass shooting at Fort Hood

Posted at 7:52 AM, May 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-27 07:52:55-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Since that Saturday shooting at Tops, we've talked so much about the people who were killed. Ten people lost their lives. They're now known as the Jefferson Ten.

But there were 13 people shot. Three survived. For those people, living with the memories will be difficult. But days get better.

A Western New York native survived a mass shooting, back in 2014, at Fort Hood.

Surviving a mass shooting is something Lt. Col. Patrick Miller understands all too well.

"It's about resiliency and controlling what you can control," Miller said.

He was shot in the chest, working to save his fellow soldiers as he was running toward danger.

"After the shooting, just like so many people can directly relate to and attest to now, you'll learn to take your time and appreciate everything
that much more," Miller said. "I can tell you, what we cannot do is be divisive and hate one another and be angry all the time. That doesn't do anything."

It's hate that allegedly fueled the gunfire at Tops, killing ten and hurting three others. Those survivors fought courageously, just like Miller.

"That PTSD -- the memories, they'll never go away," Miller said. "Every time I walk into a room, whether it's a meeting, a conference, the mall, the movie theater, a Bills game, wherever-- the first thing I do is [look for the] exits...survey the room...quick scan...check everyone's hands. All
that takes place in two or three seconds and no one knows. It's just that one extra step that I take to put myself at ease."

Miller says, the power of positivity is something that helps him day by day. While it may be hard right now, he says living life optimistically and authentically is what centered him in the dark days.

"That'll radiate and translate to those around you and set a climate--whether it's your family or your work environment-- or where you go to
school, it just feeds off of each other," Miller said. "We can't do it alone. That's the point. We've got to be there for one another and we'll get through it together."