When George H.W. Bush passed away in November 2018, he left behind a legacy, a family, and a dog named Sully.
He also left behind the service automobile he was driven around in. Today, that service vehicle is helping U.S. Navy veteran David Miller.
Miller enlisted in the Navy 2 months after he left high school. He worked on some of the military’s most powerful fighter jets as an aviation ordinanceman, and met his future wife while serving in Japan on the USS George Washington.
The couple married in 2011, and welcomed a daughter into the world a year later.
Miller was in the midst of a 7-month deployment with the Navy when he suffered a seizure and woke up in the emergency room of the USS Nimitz, Today reports. he was diagnosed with cerebellar atrophy and ataxia.
His motor skills and speech were limited after the event, and he was subsequently discharged from the military.
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Miller was consumed with anxiety about the future.
“I thought I was paralyzed,” Miller told NBC. “I just thought, ‘Man, how am I going to support my wife and child, now?'”
After the interview, Miller and his family were greeted by television personality Jay Leno and Jenna Hager Bush, graddaughter of the 41st President of the United States. They presented the Millers with Bush’s service van, engineered by BraunAbility to be fully accessible.
Miller was moved by the gesture, and greatly admired its former owner.
“I love that man,” Miller said. “A great hero.”
Along with the keys to the vehicle, Jenna Hager Bush presented Miller with a heartfelt letter from her father, George W. Bush.
“’41’ would be proud to know that a fellow sailor will take his seat in the van and I know he would join me in thanking you for your contributions to our country,” the letter read.
The elder Bush was a strident supporter of U.S. veterans, having served as a Navy pilot in WWII. His support for service members is yet evident today, as one more vet is able to regain mobility and dignity for himself and his family.
“This was my grandpa’s car and I rode in it many times with him,” Jenna said. “I hope you and your family have as many happy memories I this van as my family did.”
Watch the video below.
Matthew Russell is a West Michigan native and with a background in journalism, data analysis, cartography and design thinking. He likes to learn new things and solve old problems whenever possible, and enjoys bicycling, going to the dog park, spending time with his daughter, and coffee.