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COD dedicates Homeland Security center to fallen Wheaton soldier

Staff Sgt. Robert Miller always put service before himself.

"That's how Rob lived his life, true to that very last day," said retired U.S. Navy Capt. Thomas Kelley, in helping formally dedicate the College of DuPage's Homeland Security Education Center on July 6 in the name of Miller. "We should all pledge to lead our lives the way of Rob Miller."

Miller, a Wheaton North High School graduate, was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor, the nation's highest award for military valor. He died in a firefight Jan. 25, 2008, after drawing the fire of more than 150 insurgent forces in Afghanistan to provide cover fire for his men to fall back.

He saved the lives of seven members of his own team, as well as 15 Afghanistan National Army soldiers.

The center houses the college's Criminal Justice, Fire Science/EMS, Police Department and the Suburban Law Enforcement Academy.

The ceremony also honored former COD students and alumni who have paid the ultimate sacrifice as military service members and first responders. Kelley, president of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, was the keynote speaker at the dedication ceremony.

COD President Ann Rondeau and Board of Trustees Chairwoman Deanne Mazzochi, as well as Command Sgt. Maj. Bruce Holmes of the U.S. Army 3rd Special Forces Group, also honored Miller during the ceremony.

"Today's building dedication in honor of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice is a true testament to the strength of this community and this great nation," Holmes said.

Miller also was honored recently during Wheaton's Fourth of July parade, as the Miller family served as the parade's grand marshals. Miller's mother, Maureen Miller, said she was grateful to see the Homeland Security Education Center formally dedicated in her son's name.

"It is very much an honor to have this building named in honor of Rob," she said after the ceremony. "We also appreciate the dedication that they did to the first responders and other military members who have died in the line of duty."

Miller said her family also was honored to serve as the grand marshals of the Fourth of July parade.

"My older children, Rob included, marched in many of the parades, whether it was Fourth of July or Memorial Day, starting out in his Cub Scout pack," she said. "He was in the Wheaton North band and marched in parades with them also. So it was our turn to march."

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