LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — Throughout February, Eyewitness News is showcasing remarkable women from right here in NEPA.
“Like always, he gave me a huge kiss and hug and said I love you and walked out the door. And I never knew that would be the last kiss or hug I would ever receive from him,” said Eileen Miller
On July 5th, 2010. Her family forever changed.
“That tractor-trailer was on the road, off the road, lane switching. Finally, had come to almost where my son was and had tried to over-correct. It jackknifed, and came across the two lanes of the highway, a grassy median, he hit my son head-on, and then pushed him back into an embankment,” Miller said.
That moment. Her 21-year-old son, Paul, was killed by a distracted truck driver. Eileen was devastated.
“My whole world came crashing down. Because somebody was grossly negligent,” Miller said.
Her world turned upside down again, exactly two years later when her husband, Paul was diagnosed with ALS. But for Eileen and her husband, the only way to keep moving was by turning tragedy into action living by these simple words.
“It’s not about what I can’t do, it’s about what I can,” said Paul Miller.
Together, Eileen and Paul now advocate for safety behind the wheel, alongside State Representatives. She’s been working on a bill in Harrisburg that would make it illegal to hold a cell phone while driving.
She speaks at local high schools informing students about the dangers of distracted driving and advocates in Washington and Harrisburg for ALS Awareness and funding, all while taking care of her husband.
“She’s my driver, my caregiver, I still try and do as much as I can myself. But it’s getting harder,” noted Paul.
She tells Eyewitness News when something bad happens, you can either sit at home and cry, or do something to make a difference – so others won’t have to go through the pain you’ve felt.
“It makes you feel good knowing that you’re doing something that’s going to make the world a better place, and a kinder place,” added Eileen.
And nearly 10 years later, Eileen is sticking to the last promise she made to her son.
“I whispered in his ear there was no way he should have died like that. And I was going to find out what happened to him and I would fight for change,” Eileen said.