COD Dedicates SSG Robert J. Miller Homeland Security Education Center

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By Mike McKissack

More than 300 people gathered to dedicate the Robert J. Miller Homeland Security Education Center at College of DuPage and to view two new memorials within the building honoring Medal of Honor Recipient Miller and College of DuPage students who have fallen in the line of duty through their service as firefighters, police officers and military service members.

Click here to see photos from the event. View video highlights from the event.

During his keynote speech, retired U.S. Navy Captain and Medal of Honor Society President Tom Kelley said he was honored and humbled to be a part of the ceremony.

“The SSG Robert J. Miller Homeland Security Education Center is the perfect place to honor the legacy of Rob Miller,” Kelley said. “It was established to train and support first responders and law enforcement personnel and to provide the best preparation possible for people who have dedicated themselves to serving others in their communities, our nation and throughout the world. These professions are not without risk. But for every fallen soldier or first responder lost in the line of duty, there are countless citizens who are safe thanks to their heroism.”

Born in 1983, Miller grew up in Wheaton and attended Wheaton North High School. In 2003, he joined the U.S. Army and spent 18 months completing the training and qualifications required for Special Forces. In 2007, Miller received two Army Commendation Medals for Valor for courage under fire after an eight-month deployment in Afghanistan. Miller was killed in action in January 2008 and was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor by President Barack Obama in October 2010. Click here for more information on Miller.

The ceremony on July 6 was attended by Miller’s parents, Phillip and Maureen Miller, as well as Gold Star families; families of COD alumni who have fallen while serving their communities in the military or as first responders; COD students, faculty and staff; and members of the community.

The Homeland Security Education Center opened in 2011 as a state-of-the-art facility that houses the College’s Criminal Justice and Fire Science/EMS programs, as well as the COD Police Department and the Suburban Law Enforcement Academy. Dr. Rondeau said the College was honored to dedicate the building to Miller and proud to create the memorials to Miller and COD alumni who have fallen in the line of duty.

“It is our deepest hope that the Robert J. Miller Homeland Security Education Center and the memorials inside can serve as a public tribute, as well as provide comfort to the families and loved ones as a testament that these fallen men and women died while doing what they love, sacrificing themselves so that others may live in peace, freedom and security,” Rondeau said. “They are heroes, and we are proud to recognize their service.”

COD Board of Trustees Chair Deanne Mazzochi said the dedication of the building and the memorials served as an example of the College’s connection with the community and the gratitude the College and the community hold toward those men and women who demonstrate their courage on a daily basis.

“The facility and the new memorials inside it will serve as reminders to all of us of their legacy to build and protect civilization, from our local neighborhoods and beyond to the worldwide community.” Mazzochi said. “We thank Staff Sergeant Robert J. Miller for his integrity and bravery, our alumni memorialized for their courage and ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty, the men and women currently dedicating their lives to active service, and the families who provide support, love and understanding. The College is proud of its heroes and honored to be a part of this community.”

Additional speakers included Retired U.S. Army Colonel Ralph Grieco, U.S. Army 3rd Special Forces Group Command Sergeant Major Bruce Holmes, Addison Fire Chief Joe Leone and Bloomingdale Deputy Chief of Police Tim Roberts.

College of DuPage is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Serving approximately 28,000 students each term, College of DuPage is the largest public community college in the state of Illinois. The College grants nine associate degrees and offers more than 170 career and technical certificates in over 50 areas of study.

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