Vigil For LHS Senior, Eric Miller
Over 200 Attend to Celebrate the Life of Young Man “Who Loved Jesus”
By Peggy Bair
Over 200 family members, friends, community members and team mates gathered in the evening of Saturday, February 18, at David Brewer Park in Leavenworth for a candlelight vigil honoring Leavenworth High School senior Eric Miller. Miller passed away on February 7 from injuries sustained in an altercation with another man in downtown Leavenworth.
George Johnson, Leavenworth Football Booster Club member, guided the gathering on Saturday while playing Miller’s favorite song list over the sound system. Tributes to the young athlete were encouraged, bringing forth both tears and laughter as memories were shared.
Minister Orlando Rivera read from the Bible: “The Lord is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” He shared that Eric was a young man of faith. “Eric was a rare one. He was different. I’m going to miss him,” Rivera said as he offered the prayer: “Father we thank you for his life. We ask for strength, O God, to see your will in this chaos.”
Rivera encouraged the crowd to look to their faith during their grief. “God, this is hard…Jesus, you are the cure. We trust your plan. It’s not easy to accept. Nothing can separate us from your love. And we know that Eric represented love. Let someone know right now that it’s okay to cry. We know he is there with you. Lift us up with good memories of Eric.”
Pictures of Eric were displayed and shared in front of a podium bearing Miller’s football jersey number 22 as family members joined together to release balloons in his memory.
Mayor Jermaine Wilson spoke words of encouragement to those gathered. “Today we stand here together in unity and love honoring the life and legacy of Eric Miller. It is important to learn to serve others just like Eric did. If we really want to keep his name alive, let us love unconditionally.”
“Eric was a. young man with an old soul,” Wilson said. “We all are going to miss Eric. It’s going to get hard. You’re going to have some difficult days. But remember what Eric would do: He would keep going. He would not give up. And if you need a shoulder to lean on, to cry – look to your left and look to your right. Eric brought this community together. So, let us honor his name and carry on his legacy.”
The Leavenworth Football Booster Club is selling a Pioneer T-shirt to raise funds for a scholarship in Miller’s name.
Ismael Caleb Salinas-Richardson has been charged with involuntary manslaughter in connection with Miller’s death.