“Henry Miller Jr.”
555 Fitness Hero WOD
- For Time
- 50 Overhead Squats (95/65 lb)
- 5 Pull-Ups
Perform 5 pull-ups every minute on the minute beginning at the 1:00 mark.
Firefighter Henry Miller Jr., 52, of Massapequa, worked at Ladder Company No. 105, on Dean Street in Brooklyn. The fire truck he had arrived in that day was discovered crushed under piles of debris in front of the Marriott hotel. His body was never found.
Henry Miller was a surfer and a skier and, until he married Diane, his best friend's sister, in 1994 at age 45, a confirmed bachelor. Diane, who was divorced, lived with her two children and elderly mother when he moved in.
"He took on a ready-made family," Diane Miller said. "He was just a rock. I felt safe, secure and happy being married to him, and all of a sudden that just exploded." Miller, who followed his father into the fire department, grew up in Rosedale, Queens, and summered in the Rockaways. A new documentary, "Our Hawaii," about the original Rockaway surfers, was dedicated to Miller's memory.
The couple met when she was 17; at some point, Diane Miller said, their relationship "just changed." Miller became a stepfather to her two children, who already knew him well as "Uncle Henry." After Miller died, Diane's son, Scott Freedman, told Newsday that Miller "taught me how to be a man." Freedman, a father of two, died of pancreatic cancer two years ago.
"To be honest, I didn't think anything could be worse than ... until I lost a child," Diane Miller said. "If Henry would have been here, it probably would have been a little easier to deal with." She copes with her grief through her longtime job as a dental hygienist, her friends, and her grandchildren. She finds solace at the beach, which her husband loved.
"I just get up every day and say, OK, Henry would want me to just do what I have to do," she said. Last year she put up a stone for him in Pinelawn Memorial Park, next to Freedman's. "When I visit one, I visit the other," she said. Firefighter Henry A. Miller Jr. had a lot to look forward to in his life.
A longtime Massapequa resident and cancer survivor, he was to celebrate his 53rd birthday and seventh wedding anniversary with relatives and friends next month. After 28 years of service with downtown Brooklyn's Ladder 105, Miller was also considering retirement two years from now, finally yielding to repeated requests from his concerned wife.
But Miller was right across the bridge from the World Trade Center last Tuesday morning and, just as he did after the terrorist trade center bombing in 1993, drove one of the company's hook and ladder trucks to be with his colleagues among the first emergency personnel at the scene.
Miller never returned and is officially listed among the missing in last week's attack. His relatives and friends want to remember him as the gentle and jovial fellow he was, a bulky man who loved the sea, surfing and scuba diving, but who mostly saw himself as a firefighter, always willing and ready to help.
Miller, whose father retired as a 38-year veteran of the department, had been injured in the line of duty before, including the time when he suffered serious smoke inhalation trying to rescue people after the 1993 bombing.
Miller was born in New York City and grew up in the Rosedale section of Queens. Although he started studies to become an accountant at Manhattan's City College, he soon decided he wanted to follow in his father's footsteps and become a firefighter.
He was of composed character, rarely raising his voice or losing his temper about anything, relatives and friends said, a trait that fits well with his devotion to helping those in need. But he was also a fun-loving Irishman who knew where to get the best pizza on Long Island and in New York City, and who loved practical jokes.
When Miller was diagnosed with cancer about eight years ago, he kept going with his work and life, eventually beating the disease. He and his wife, Diane, married seven years ago next month, and Miller was secretly preparing to commemorate the event. When Diane went through his belongings this past week, she found a folded receipt from the jeweler's store where he had purchased a gift for her. His birthday would have been on Oct. 18. More than once, Miller had the opportunity to retire but couldn't see himself not helping people.